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Housing Occupancy and Costs

The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects data from households to measure levels of housing occupancy and costs and how these change over time

Reference period
2017 - 2018

Key statistics

  • 66% of Australian households owned their own home with or without a mortgage.
  • 32% of households rented their home.
  • Average weekly housing costs were: $484 for owners with a mortgage; $53 for owners without a mortgage; and $366 for renters.

Main features

Summary

The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects data from households across Australia to measure levels of housing occupancy and costs and how these change over time.

In 2017–18:

  • Around two thirds (66%) of Australian households owned their own home with or without a mortgage, a decrease from 68% in 2015–16. 
  • Almost one third (32%) of Australian households rented their home in 2017–18, an increase from 30% in 2015–16. 
  • Average weekly housing costs increased to $484 for owners with a mortgage (up $15 per week from $469 in 2015–16) and remained relatively stable for the other major tenure types ($53 for owners without a mortgage, $366 for renters). 
  • Households continued to spend 14% of their gross weekly income on housing costs (owners with a mortgage spent 16% and renters spent 20%).
  • The average number of persons per household remained stable at 2.6, and the average number of bedrooms per dwelling was unchanged at 3.2.
  • Applying the Canadian National Occupancy Standard for housing utilisation, almost one in twenty (4%) of Australian households required at least one additional bedroom to meet the requirements of the household, while more than three quarters (79%) of households had at least one bedroom spare.
  • One in five households (20%) owned one or more residential properties other than their usual residence. Of those that owned other residential property, almost three quarters (71%) owned a single property, while one in twenty (5%) owned four or more properties.
  • More than half (55%) of recent first home buyers were households with a reference person aged under 35 years.
     

This publication presents the main findings on housing occupancy and costs from the 2017–18 SIH. More detailed data is available in the data cubes, available from the Data downloads of this publication, and details about the survey are available in the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 6553.0).

Housing tenure

Almost one third (32%) of Australian households rented their home in 2017–18, an increase from 30% in 2015–16. Around two thirds (66%) of Australian households owned their own home with or without a mortgage, a decrease from 68% in 2015–16. The longer term trends for the major household tenure types are:

Owners

In the past two decades, from 1997–98 to 2017–18, the percentage of Australian households that own their own home:

  • With or without a mortgage decreased from 70% to 66%
  • Without a mortgage decreased from 40% to 30%
  • With a mortgage increased from 31% to 37%
     

Renters

Between 1997–98 and 2017–18, the percentage of Australian households that rent their home from:

  • All landlord types increased from 27% to 32%
  • A private landlord increased from 20% to 27%
  • A state or territory housing authority decreased from 6% to 3%
     
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Annotation(s): Note: Survey not run in 1998–99, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15 or 2016–17. Values have been interpolated for these years.
Source(s): Survey of Income and Housing
 

More detail about housing tenure can be found in the data cubes available to download from the Data downloads of this product.

  • Data cube 1 contains a time series of tenure and landlord type for Australia from 1994–95 to 2017–18.
  • Data cube 2 features estimates of tenure and landlord type by selected household characteristics.
  • Data cube 6 features estimates of tenure and landlord type by family and household composition.
  • Data cube 8 features estimates of tenure and landlord type by selected household characteristics for lower income households.
  • Data cubes 11 and 12 contain tenure and landlord type for each Greater Capital City Statistical Area and state or territory in 2017–18.
  • Data cubes 13 through to 20 contain a time series of tenure and landlord type for each state or territory from 1994–95 to 2017–18.

Housing costs

In this publication, housing costs are defined as the sum of rent payments; rate payments (water and general); and mortgage or unsecured loan payments (if the initial purpose of the loan was primarily to buy, add, or alter the dwelling). The complexities in measuring different types of housing costs mean that care should be taken when comparing housing costs and affordability ratios across tenure types.

In 2017–18, the average weekly housing costs for all Australian households were $311 but vary significantly for different tenure types. They were:

  • $53 for owners without a mortgage
  • $484 for owners with a mortgage
  • $366 for renters
     

In the past two decades, from 1997–98 to 2017–18, housing costs (adjusted for inflation) for major tenure and landlord types have increased by:

  • 51% for home owners without a mortgage
  • 40% for home owners with a mortgage
  • 52% for state or territory housing tenants
  • 51% for private renters
     
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Annotation(s): Note: Survey not run in 1998–99, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15 or 2016–17. Values have been interpolated for these years.
Footnote(s): (a) Adjusted for changes in the Consumer Price Index to 2017–18 dollars
Source(s): Survey of Income and Housing
 

Housing costs are not uniform across Australia. In 2017–18, average weekly housing costs for households in each state and territory were:

  • New South Wales ($334)
  • Victoria ($307)
  • Queensland ($302)
  • South Australia ($239)
  • Western Australia ($327)
  • Tasmania ($207)
  • Northern Territory ($394)
  • Australian Capital Territory ($337)
     

More detail about housing costs can be found in the data cubes available to download from the Data downloads of this product.

  • Data cube 1 contains a time series of housing costs for Australia from 1994–95 to 2017–18.
  • Data cube 3 features estimates of housing costs by selected household characteristics.
  • Data cube 6 features estimates of housing costs by family and household composition.
  • Data cube 8 features estimates of housing costs by selected household characteristics for lower income households.
  • Data cubes 11 and 12 contain housing costs by selected household characteristics for each Greater Capital City Statistical Area and state or territory in 2017–18.
  • Data cubes 13 through to 20 contain a time series of housing costs for each state or territory from 1994–95 to 2017–18.

Housing affordability

One measure of housing affordability is a ratio of housing costs to gross household income, also known as a housing affordability ratio. The complexities in measuring different types of housing costs mean that care should be taken when comparing housing costs and affordability ratios across tenure types.

In 2017–18, this housing affordability ratio for major household tenure types was:

  • 3% for owners without a mortgage
  • 16% for owners with a mortgage
  • 23% for renters from a state or territory housing authority
  • 20% for renters from a private landlord
     
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Annotation(s): Note: Survey not run in 1998–99, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15 or 2016–17. Values have been interpolated for these years.
Source(s): Survey of Income and Housing
 

Lower income households

Lower income households in this publication are those containing the 38% of persons between the 3rd and 40th percentiles of equivalised disposable household income.

In 2017–18, average housing costs and housing affordability ratios for lower income households by tenure type were:

  • $209 per week (22% of gross weekly income) for all lower income households, compared to $311 per week (14% of gross weekly income) for all households
  • $376 per week (29% of gross weekly income) for lower income home owner households with a mortgage
  • $339 per week (32% of gross weekly income) for lower income households renting from a private landlord
     

The proportion of lower income households spending more than 30% of their gross weekly income on housing costs was:

  • More than half (57%) of those renting from a private landlord (down from 60% in 2015–16)
  • Around four in ten (41%) of owners with a mortgage (unchanged from 2015–16)
     

For selected other lower income household groups, the percentage spending more than 30% of their gross weekly income on housing was:

  • Just under half (45%) of one parent families with dependent children
  • More than a third (35%) of couple families with dependent children
  • Over a quarter (29%) of lone person households
  • Around half of households with younger reference persons aged 15–24 (55%), 25–34 (47%) or 35–44 (48%)
  • Progressively fewer of households with older reference persons aged 45–54 (31%), 55–64 (25%), 65–74 (14%) or 75 and over (8%)
     

More detail about housing affordability can be found in the data cubes available to download from the Data downloads of this product.

  • Data cube 1 contains a time series of housing costs as a proportion of gross household income for Australia from 1994–95 to 2017–18.
  • Data cube 4 features estimates of housing costs as a proportion of gross household income by selected household characteristics.
  • Data cube 5 features estimates of households and lower income households within housing costs as a proportion of income ranges by selected household characteristics.
  • Data cube 6 features estimates of housing costs as a proportion of gross household income by family and household composition.
  • Data cube 8 features estimates of housing costs as a proportion of gross household income by selected household characteristics for lower income households.
  • Data cubes 11 and 12 features estimates of housing costs as a proportion of gross household income for each Greater Capital City Statistical Area and state or territory in 2017–18.
  • Data cubes 13 through to 20 features estimates of housing costs as a proportion of gross household income for each state or territory from 1994–95 to 2017–18.
     

Another measure of housing affordability for lower income renter households can be found in data cube 21. That measure, informing one of the performance indicators in the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, defines lower income households as those households containing the 40% of people at or below the 40th percentile of equivalised disposable household income (excluding RA) calculated at the total Australia households level. More information on this is available as an appendix to the 'Explanatory Notes' within the Methodology of this publication.

Ownership of other residential property

One in five (20%) of Australian households owned a residential property other than their usual residence in 2017–18. These properties include those that are being rented out as residential investment properties and those used for other purposes, such as holiday homes.

Of the 1.86 million households who owned a residential property other than their usual residence:

  • Almost three quarters (71%) owned a single property
  • One in twenty (5%) owned four or more properties
  • Owners were most likely to reside in either New South Wales (34%) or Victoria (26%)
  • Almost four in ten households (37%) were in the highest quintile of equivalised disposable household income
  • Just over one in ten (12%) households were in the lowest quintile of equivalised disposable household income
     

For more data regarding ownership of other residential property see data cube 10, available to download from the Data downloads of this product.

Housing utilisation

In this publication, the measure of housing utilisation is based on the criteria of the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS), which determines the number of bedrooms required to adequately accommodate a dwelling's occupants.

In 2017–18:

  • There was an average of 2.6 persons per household and 3.2 bedrooms per dwelling.
  • Almost one in twenty (4%) of households were in need of at least one more bedroom.
  • More than three quarters (79%) of households had at least one bedroom spare.
     

Over the last twenty years:

  • The mean number of persons per household gradually declined from 2.7 in 1997–98 to 2.5 in 2005–06, then slowly increased to 2.6 in 2017–18.
  • The number of bedrooms per dwelling has increased from 3.0 in 1997–98 to 3.2 in 2017–18.
     
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Annotation(s): Note: Survey not run in 1998–99, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15 or 2016–17. Values have been interpolated for these years.
Source(s): Survey of Income and Housing
 

For more data regarding housing utilisation see data cube 7, available to download from the Data downloads section of this product.

For more information on CNOS see the ‘Explanatory Notes’ section within the Methodology of this publication.

Recent home buyers

Recent home buyers are defined as those households who purchased a dwelling in the three years prior to the date of their survey interview. This enables analysis on two groups of recent purchasers – those who purchased their first home (first home buyers) and those who had previously owned a home (changeover buyers). While not intended to provide a measure of the prevalence of first home buyers, the survey allows for comparative analysis of demographic and housing cost factors associated with these two groups.

In 2017–18 there were approximately 1,012,000 recent home buyers. Of these:

  • More than a third (35%) were first home buyers.
  • Almost two thirds (65%) had previously owned a home (changeover buyers).
     

Of the approximately 349,000 first home buyers:

  • Most (94%) owned their home with a mortgage.
  • More than half (55%) were in a household with a reference person aged under 35 years.
  • Over two thirds (69%) were either couple families with dependent children (38%) or couple only families (31%).
  • Less than a quarter (23%) of the dwellings they recently bought were new.
     
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Source(s): Survey of Income and Housing


When comparing first home buyers to those recent home buyers who had previously owned their own home (changeover buyers):

  • Recent changeover buyers were less likely to purchase a flat or apartment than first home buyers (5% compared with 9%).
  • Housing costs for first home buyers with a mortgage were comparable to those for recent changeover buyers ($549 per week compared with $587).
  • First home buyers spent more of their income on housing costs than recent home buyers who had previously owned a home (21% compared to 16%).
  • The median value of dwelling for first home buyers was $500,000, compared to $645,000 for recent changeover buyers.
     

For more data on recent home buyers see data cube 9, available to download from the Data downloads of this product.

States and territories

Key statistics for housing tenure and housing costs by state and territory in 2017–18 are presented below. Unless otherwise stated, estimates have not significantly changed since 2015–16.

Detailed statistics for each Greater Capital City Statistical Area and state or territory can be found in data cubes 11 and 12, available to download from the Data downloads of this product.

New South Wales

Tenure:

  • 64% of NSW households owned their own home (down from 67% in 2015–16)
  • 35% owned with a mortgage
  • 30% owned without a mortgage (down from 32% in 2015–16)
  • 34% were renting (up from 31% in 2015–16)
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $48 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $508 per week, or 15% of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $422 per week, or 21% of gross weekly household income
     

The median mortgage outstanding in NSW was $265,000.

Detailed time series data for NSW from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 13.

Victoria

Tenure:

  • 68% of Victorian households owned their own home
  • 37% owned with a mortgage
  • 31% owned without a mortgage
  • 29% were renting
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $56 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $487 per week (up $32 from 2015–16), or 17% (no change) of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $366 per week, or 20% of gross weekly household income
     

The median mortgage outstanding in Victoria was $260,000.

Detailed time series data for Victoria from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 14.

Queensland

Tenure:

  • 63% of Queensland households owned their own home
  • 35% owned with a mortgage (down from 39% in 2015–16)
  • 27% owned without a mortgage
  • 36% were renting
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $54 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $474 per week, or 17% of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $332 per week, or 20% of gross weekly household income
     

The median mortgage outstanding in Queensland was $250,000 (a rise from $235,000 in 2015–16).

Detailed time series data for Queensland from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 15.

South Australia

Tenure:

  • 69% of SA households owned their own home
  • 37% owned with a mortgage
  • 32% owned without a mortgage
  • 30% were renting
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $54 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $388 per week, or 15% of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $268 per week (no change), or 19% of gross weekly household income (down from 21% in 2015–16)
     

The median mortgage outstanding in SA was $203,000.

Detailed time series data for SA from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 16.

Western Australia

Tenure:

  • 70% of WA households owned their own home
  • 43% owned with a mortgage
  • 27% owned without a mortgage
  • 28% were renting
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $53 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $514 per week (up $28 from 2015–16), or 17% (no change) of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $335 per week (down $34 from 2015–16), or 17% of gross weekly household income (down from 19% in 2015–16)
     

The median mortgage outstanding in WA was $315,000 (a rise from $266,000 in 2015–16).

Detailed time series data for WA from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 17.

Tasmania

Tenure:

  • 72% of Tasmanian households owned their own home
  • 39% owned with a mortgage
  • 33% owned without a mortgage
  • 26% were renting
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $43 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $330 per week, or 14% of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $247 per week, or 19% of gross weekly household income
     

The median mortgage outstanding in Tasmania was $160,000.

Detailed time series data for Tasmania from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 18.

Northern Territory

Tenure:

  • 59% of NT households owned their own home
  • 42% owned with a mortgage
  • 17% owned without a mortgage
  • 39% were renting
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $61 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $547 per week, or 16% of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $398 per week (down $47 from 2015–16), or 16% (no change) of gross weekly household income
     

The median mortgage outstanding in NT was $312,000 (a drop from $362,000 in 2015–16).

Detailed time series data for NT from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 19.

Australian Capital Territory

Tenure:

  • 64% of ACT households owned their own home
  • 40% owned with a mortgage
  • 25% owned without a mortgage
  • 34% were renting
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $68 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $479 per week, or 14% of gross weekly household income
  • Renters paid $382 per week, or 18% of gross weekly household income
     

The median mortgage outstanding in ACT was $282,000.

Detailed time series data for ACT from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 20.

Australia

Tenure:

  • 66% of Australian households owned their own home (down from 68% in 2015–16)
  • 37% owned with a mortgage
  • 29.5% without a mortgage (down from 30.4% in 2015–16)
  • 32% were renting (up from 30% in 2015–16)
     

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $53 a week on average
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $484 per week (up $15 from 2015–16), or 16% of gross weekly household income (no change)
  • Renters paid $366 per week, or 20% of gross weekly household income
     

The median mortgage outstanding in Australia was $260,000 (a rise from $238,000 in 2015–16).

Detailed time series data for Australia from 1994–95 to 2017–18 are available in data cube 1.

Data downloads

1. Housing occupancy and costs, Australia, 1994–95 to 2017–18

2. Housing occupancy

3. Housing costs

4. Housing costs as a proportion of income

5. Housing costs as a proportion of income ranges

6. Household composition

7. Housing utilisation

8. Lower income households, state and territory

9. Recent home buyer households

10. Residential property ownership

11. Greater capital city statistical areas

12. States and territories

13. Housing occupancy and costs, New South Wales, 1994–95 to 2017–18

14. Housing occupancy and costs, Victoria, 1994–95 to 2017–18

15. Housing occupancy and costs, Queensland, 1994–95 to 2017–18

16. Housing occupancy and costs, South Australia, 1994–95 to 2017–18

17. Housing occupancy and costs, Western Australia, 1994–95 to 2017–18

18. Housing occupancy and costs, Tasmania, 1994–95 to 2017–18

19. Housing occupancy and costs, Northern Territory, 1994–95 to 2017–18

20. Housing occupancy and costs, Australian Capital Territory, 1994–95 to 2017–18

21. Rental affordability, lower income renter households, national housing and homelessness agreement basis