How Has The Australian Property Landscape Changed?

July 31, 2017 |
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The results of the 2016 Census reveal that home ownership in Australia has changed in the last five years.

While certain trends have remained steady, the way we are living is definitely shifting.

So, what exactly has the Census data revealed?

1. More Australians are renting

One key finding to emerge from the 2016 Census is that the number of Australians renting property is increasing, while the number of Aussies who own property is decreasing. Currently, 31 per cent own their home outright, and 35.5 per cent own their home with a mortgage.

Renting, on the other hand, has been on the up – 30.9 per cent of Australians are renting at the moment, while 29.6 per cent were in 2011.

There has been a lot of discussion in the media about the demise of the Australian dream of home ownership and the rise of renting as first home buyers are priced out of the market. Whether this will change in the wake of government measures to address affordability remains to be seen.

Home ownership in Australia is changing, according to the latest Census data.

2. A quarter of Australians live in single person households

In terms of the makeup of our households, not much has changed dramatically over the past five years. Family households are still the overwhelming majority, making up 71.3 per cent. Group households comprise 4.3 per cent. And approximately a quarter of all Australians live in single person households.

This is no big change from 2011 data, but it does reflect a long-term trend towards single person households over the past couple of decades, indicative of our country’s ageing population.

3. We’re moving towards different types of housing

As Australia’s population increases (Sydney’s population is up by more than 400,000 since 2011), we’re starting to live closer together. The majority of Australians still live in detached houses, but the percentage of people living in this kind of dwelling has decreased – from 75.6 per cent in 2011 to 72.9 per cent in 2016.

At the same time, the number of semi-detached, row or terrace houses and townhouses we’re occupying has increased from 9.9 per cent to 12.7 per cent over the last five years.

4. Rent is increasing but mortgage repayments are down

It won’t be a surprise to many the median weekly rent has gone up – from $285 in 2011 to $335 in 2016. And of course, figures are higher in Sydney. In the NSW capital, median weekly rent currently sits at $440, up from $351 in 2011.

However, median monthly mortgage repayments haven’t followed the same trend, having decreased Australia-wide. The average repayment Aussie families were making in 2011 was $1,800, and has since decreased to $1,755. New South Wales, of course, has medians well above this, with Sydney’s median monthly mortgage repayment currently sitting at $2,167.

Housing affordability continues to be a topical and much-discussed issue, but this news is positive, and the introduction of additional incentives from the state government will certainly help first home buyers get their foot on the property ladder.

Census data indicates that weekly rent has gone up, while monthly mortgage repayments have decreased.

5. Increase in unoccupied dwellings

One of the findings from the 2016 Census that has attracted controversy is the revelation that the number of unoccupied private dwellings has increased in the last five years. Only 88.8 per cent of the 9,901,496 private dwellings in the country are currently occupied, with well over a million remaining empty.

The state government attempted to address this issue in the budget by hiking up taxes for foreign investors leaving investment properties empty. Again, time will tell whether or not this measure will help Aussies without a place to live find a home.

To find out more about how Australia’s changing property landscape will affect you, talk to the team at Laing+Simmons, New South Wales’ leading boutique real estate franchise network.

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