What the latest Census figures reveal about our housing market

Despite a slow decline in home owners amid a country-wide housing affordability crisis, new Census data has revealed that the notion of possessing property is still achievable.

The recent release of Census datas shows that national home ownership and rental rates vary across different locations.

The data highlights a range of interesting statistics around housing, including:

  • More Australians are turning to renting. Around 31% of all citizens now rent property as opposed to approximately 29% in 2011. Subsequently, rent prices have also increased; with the median rent of suburbs in Sydney CBD’s sitting at $725 a week. On the national scale as a whole, the median household weekly rent was $335 last year, up from $285 five years prior. The private rental sector is also up 3.6%.


  • Mortgage repayments have taken a slight tumble, down from $1,800 a month in 2011 to $1,755 a month in 2016. These statistics are extremely relevant for Sydneysiders, as 33.2% of home owners reported having mortgage debt and housing stress; with over 22% forced to spend over 30% of their monthly income on either their mortgage or rent, much higher than the national average of 7.2%. As a result, the working life of the average person is longer, with many having to postpone retirement plans in an attempt to wrestle back control of their mortgage repayments.


  • The amount of Australians who own their home outright has also decreased slightly, dropping to 31% from 32.1%. Sydney came in fourth across all states and territories in terms of outright owners at 29.1%.


  • Growing at the highest rate in the country, Melbourne looms to overtake Sydney as Australia’s most populous capital city. More people are making the decision to move south in an attempt to escape rising Sydney costs; the median house price is $1.15 million in the harbour city, while Melbourne sits at just under $844,000.


  • Amongst Indigenous Australians, data shows that among households where at least one resident is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, 12.2% are outright owners, 25.9% are purchaser owners, and 32.4% are renting privately. 21.5%, of those households reside in social housing, likely the result of targeted social housing programs in metropolitan, rural and regional areas.


Experts anticipated a bigger drop in home ownership, only decreasing slightly in the past five years despite the rising cost of living. It isn’t all rosy on that end, however, with industry experts warning that the solid figure may be papering over bigger issues. In the long run, an expensive social problem may arise as households are requiring more financial assistance to stay afloat.