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1350.0 - Australian Economic Indicators, 1992  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/01/1993   
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1992 Feature Article - Housing Characteristics and Decisions: A Comparative Study of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra
This article was published in Australian Economic Indicators December 1992 issue on 1 December 1992.


The Publication

The publication Housing Characteristics and Decisions: A Comparative Study of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra, 1991 (cat. no 8710.0) has recently been released by the ABS.

The Surveys

The publication compares the results of four separate surveys of housing and locational preferences. These surveys were conducted by the National Housing Strategy in Sydney and Melbourne and the ABS in Adelaide and Canberra from February to June 1991. The publication was produced jointly by the NHS and the ABS.

The surveys aimed to find out why people choose to live in particular dwellings and locations, what influences their decisions, and what compromises they make. Respondents were asked for details of moves made in the last five years and of moves planned for the next twelve months. Data were also sought on problems with current dwellings, the importance and difficulty of accessing a range of specified services, the time spent travelling to work, and the mode of transport to work, shops, services and other activities such as visiting friends. A core set of data on household type, dwelling size and age and tenure type was also collected.

Some Results

Nearly half of all respondents in all four cities listed 'security of ownership’ as the most important reason for home ownership (see table 1). In Sydney and Melbourne, about 14 per cent of households agreed that ‘freedom to do your own thing in your own space’ was the next most important reason for home ownership. In Adelaide and Canberra, only about 7 per cent of households ranked this reason second.



TABLE 1. REASONS FOR PURCHASING A HOME BY DWELLING STRUCTURE, 1991

Sydney
Melbourne
Adelaide
Canberra
Most important reason
Separate house

Other (a)
Separate house

Other (a)

Separate house

Other (a)

Separate house

Other (a)

-- per cent --
Security of ownership
46.5
45.5
46.8
46.9
52.1
47.7
52.9
47.1
Feeling physically safe
2.4
5.1
3.2
5.3
0.6
4.0
0.7
-
Having your privacy
6.1
7.4
8.4
6.8
5.9
8.0
5.5
-
Having no intrusion by landlord or agent
1.0
12.0
0.8
0.3
0.8
2.5
9.0
-
Expecting investment returns
2.9
4.3
2.1
3.5
2.2
4.1
2.3
8.7
Having a hedge against inflation
1.0
1.2
0.9
0.6
0.8
0.4
2.8
2.2
Having an asset in old age
4.9
3.3
4.4
3.4
4.7
6.8
4.9
10.8
Having an investment for your children
3.4
2.2
2.4
1.5
5.2
41.0
45.0
2.2
Cheaper than renting in the long run
4.6
6.6
3.5
7.7
7.8
6.7
9.0
7.0
Freedom to do your own thing
14.4
10.5
14.3
13.1
5.7
8.8
7.1
6.7
Pride in your achievement of home ownership
7.2
6.8
77.0
4.7
8.6
2.8
5.1
11.0
Other
0.3
-
0.3
1.3
1.4
1.8
1.3
-
Not stated
5.2
5.9
5.1
4.9
4.0
2.3
3.2
4.3
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
-- households --
Number of households
757,000
143,000
733,000
89,000
245,000
30,000
56,000
6,000

(a) Other includes semi-detached, row or terrace house, town house, and flat, unit or apartment.
Source: Housing Characteristics and Decisions: A Comparative Study of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra (cat. no. 8710.0), Table 2.1.


Three bedroom dwellings were the most common dwelling type purchased by owner-occupiers (see graph 1), particularly in Adelaide, where 68 per cent of first home owners and 55 per cent of changeover owners purchased dwellings of this size. The highest proportion of dwellings with four or more bedrooms was in Canberra, where 27 per cent of first home owners and 47 per cent of changeover owners lived in dwellings of this size. Sydney-siders were more likely than residents of other cities to live in flats and apartments or other medium density housing.


GRAPH 1. PROPORTION OF HOUSEHOLDS LIVING IN THREE BEDROOM DWELLINGS
Graph 1 shows the proportion of First home owners, Changeover owners, Public renters and Private renters living in three bedroom dwellings.



The main reason renters had not bought a home was that they could not afford it. Very few renters, particularly private renters, reported that they preferred renting.

Reasons given for choosing an area in which to live varied according to the type of tenure. For private renters, it was mainly the need to be close to work and the affordability of rent, while first home buyers were mainly concerned with affordability. Changeover buyers, though, were mainly concerned about the characteristics of the area before considering affordability.

The three main reasons given by households who had moved between 1986 and 1991 for choosing a particular dwelling were price, availability and architectural style, the last issue being more important among movers in Adelaide and Canberra than in Sydney and Melbourne.

Further Information

Housing Characteristics and Decisions: A Comparative Study of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra, 1991 (cat. no. 8710.0) is available at ABS bookshops in all capital cities at $20 a copy. Contact details are listed under Sales and Inquiries on page iv of Australian Economic Indicators.

If you would like further information about the publication, please telephone The Manager, Household Economic Resource Surveys of the ABS on (02) 6252 7399.

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