How we live today
Australia still remains firmly attached to the ‘Great Australian dream’ of living in a detached house – separate houses still account for most homes (72 per cent) in Australia.
Flats and apartments account for 13.1 per cent of dwellings counted on census night, followed by semi-detached, row or terrace, townhouse (12.7 per cent).
It doesn’t end there though – people are increasingly likely to call a caravan, cabin, houseboat or tent a home.
The ABS defines a dwelling as “any structure which is intended to have people in it, and is habitable on census night.”
For the purpose of the national survey, these dwellings came close to 10 million on census night 2016, of which 8.3 million were “occupied private dwellings,” compared to 7.8 million five years ago.
Of the 8.3 million occupied private dwellings, seven in 10 housed families (69% by one family and 1.9% by multiple families), one in four were one-person households, and one in 25 were group households.
41.1 per cent of Australians are in private dwellings with 3 bedrooms, down from 43.6 per cent in the 2011 census. Just 18.9 per cent live in a 2-bedroom property and only 5 per cent in a 1 bedroom. 32.2 per cent live in a property with 4+ bedrooms.
Home ownership rates plunge
The big shift has been towards renting: Nearly 31 per cent of Australians now pay a landlord – an upward shift from 29.6 in 2006 and just under 27 per cent in 1991.
“The proportion renting is slowly growing, while those who have the good fortune of owning their home outright are declining,” the Census release says.
31 per cent of Australians own their home outright, having recently paid off a mortgage. The highest number of Australians who own their home outright live in Hobart (32.9 per cent), while the 41.9 per cent of Perth residents own their home jointly with the bank.
Housing tenure by city
Money, money, money
Our median personal incomes are rising, reveals census 2016. The national weekly median was $662 for people aged 15 years or over – up from $557 in 2011.
The Australian Capital Territory had the highest median personal income ($998 per week) and Tasmania was some way behind with the lowest ($573).
The national picture rounds out with the Northern Territory ($871), Western Australia ($724), New South Wales ($664), Victoria ($644), Queensland ($660) and South Australia ($600).
The median household rent has jumped substantially to $335 a week, up $50 from $285 in 2011.
The largest percentage of tenants in Greater Sydney are paying between $350-$449/week in rent, with 22.03 per cent of people in this bracket. The same could be said for Greater Melbourne (27.27 per cent) Greater Brisbane (33.09 per cent) and Greater Perth (32.79 per cent). In Greater Adelaide, tenants are most likely (27.81 per cent) to fall into the $275-349/week bracket.
What we’re paying in rent
Census 2016 revealed 11.2 of dwellings – around 1.04 million homes – were unoccupied on census night – an increase of 10.7 per cent on 2011.
It’s worth noting that many of these homes are holiday homes, temporarily vacant while occupants are travelling or under renovation.
The data asserts that Darwin is currently oversupplied, with 11.4 per cent of homes in the city sitting empty on census night, versus just 7.7 per cent in Sydney.
Perth‘s vacancy rate remained high at 11 per cent on the night, the second highest of all cities.
Percentage of vacant homes
We are family
There wasn’t a huge change in family composition from 2011 to 2016. The 2016 Census counted more than six million families in Australia – an increase from five million in 2011.
Of these families, about 45% were couples with children; 38% were couples without children; and 16% were single parent families.
Almost one in four Australians (24%) now live in single person households.
These solo renters are most likely to live in a separate house in Greater Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, while single person households account for the highest percentage of people in flats and apartments in Greater Sydney.