The tenure type of Indigenous households differs from that of other Australian households. Indigenous households are much less likely to be home owner households (with or without a mortgage) and much more likely to receive some form of housing assistance, such as Indigenous/mainstream community housing or public housing. There was, however, an increase in the proportion of Indigenous households that were home owners, from 31% in 2001 to 34% in 2006.
The housing tenure of Indigenous households varies by remoteness reflecting the availability of different tenure options for Indigenous people according to location. Home ownership rates were highest in inner regional areas (38%) and lowest in very remote areas (8%), while the proportion of Indigenous households renting mainstream or community housing was highest in very remote areas (55%).
Some Indigenous households, especially those in remote areas, live in conditions that do not support good health. In 2006, 14% of Indigenous households were overcrowded, which puts stress on basic facilities and contributes to the spread of infectious diseases. The highest rate of overcrowding was among renters of Indigenous or mainstream community housing in the Northern Territory, where 61% of Indigenous households were overcrowded. Across Australia, however, overcrowding rates fell from 16% of Indigenous households in 2001 to 14% in 2006.
There are still some dwellings in Indigenous communities not connected to essential services. In 2006 there were 51 dwellings in communities not connected to an organised sewerage system, 85 not connected to an organised electricity supply and 10 not connected to an organised water supply. The number of dwellings in communities not connected to an organised sewerage system fell from 153 in 2001 to 51 in 2006.
The rate of Indigenous homelessness was three times the rate for other Australians. Indigenous clients made up 17% of all SAAP clients and nearly three-quarters of Indigenous clients using SAAP were women. The most common reasons for Indigenous clients seeking support through SAAP were domestic violence and family breakdown. Twenty-seven per cent of all children attending a SAAP service with their parent or guardian were Indigenous. Among Indigenous children aged less than four years, one in eleven attended a SAAP service in 2005-06.