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Australia has about 2.6 million strata title lots with an insured value of $995bn, according to a new report by the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW).

Previously, strata data has been fragmented and difficult to compile, as Australia’s state and territory agencies each record the information differently. This is in addition, of course, to the multiple companies that service the strata sector.

UNSW Associate Professor Hazel Easthope co-authored the study that was released on May 31, 2018. “The vast majority of private apartments in Australia, as well as many other attached properties, such as townhouses and commercial properties, are owned under strata title, and this is the first time we have had figures about the scale and value of the sector,” she said.

The report revealed that more apartment households rent (48%) than are owner-occupied (12%), and another 14% are under mortgage.

Meanwhile, figures indicate that half of all apartment residents are in the 20-39 years old age bracket, followed by those aged 40-59 (20%).

Over a third (35%) of apartment households consist of just one person, followed by couples without kids (24%), and couples with kids (13%).

In total, nearly a tenth (9%) of the Australian population lives in apartments.

Ms Easthope said the strata report showed the size and economic responsibility of what has effectively become a fourth tier of government.

“Strata schemes operate like another tier of government in that they collect levies or taxes for the buildings’ upkeep; they have elected representatives who sit on strata committees; and they have by-laws that govern behaviour about what you can and can’t do on the property,” she said.

“But, unlike a government, they are run by volunteers – individual owners who have been elected to make decisions about how to manage the building,’’ she added.

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