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4130.0.55.002 - Housing Mobility and Conditions, 2007–08  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/11/2009  First Issue
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


INTRODUCTION

For many Australians, whether owning or renting their home, moves to new housing and the condition of their housing, impact significantly on their quality of life. Australians may choose to change their housing at particular points in their life cycle e.g. due to marriage or children, because of moves associated with employment, or due to life style preferences. They may also move because of the expiry of rental leases or because particular forms of housing become less affordable. What is suitable housing at one stage of people's lives may not meet their needs at another.


HOUSING MOBILITY

Length of time in current dwelling

The length of time people have spent in their current dwelling is strongly related to their age and their tenure and landlord type. In 2007-08, 85% of reference persons who were owners without a mortgage had spent more than 5 years in their current dwelling and 44% had spent more than 20 years. For owners with a mortgage, 58% of reference persons had spent more than 5 years in their current dwelling and 9% had spent more than 20 years.

Most (64%) household reference persons who rented from state or territory housing authorities had spent more than 5 years in their current dwelling and 14% had spent more than 20 years. Only 15% of private renters had spent more than 5 years in their current dwelling, with 58% having spent less than 2 years. This is, in part, a reflection of the generally younger age profile of private renters, who may move for study, employment or relationship reasons.

1 Length of time reference person has lived in current dwelling, Tenure and landlord type, 2007-08
Graph: 1 Length of time reference person has lived in current dwelling, Tenure and landlord type, 2007–08



Recent movers

In 2007-08, 43% of household reference persons had moved in the 5 years prior to being interviewed. Of these reference persons, 8% had moved from interstate or overseas, 45% had moved from a different suburb / locality, and 47% relocated within the same suburb/locality.

Private renter households were most likely to have moved in the last 5 years (85% of reference persons), and owners without a mortgage the least likely (15%). Renters from state and territory housing authorities were less than half as likely to have moved in the last 5 years as private renters (37% of reference persons).

2 Proportion of households whose reference person had moved in the last 5 years, Tenure and landlord type, 2007-08
Graph: 2 Proportion of households whose reference person had moved in the last 5 years, Tenure and landlord type, 2007–08



Frequency of moves

In the five years prior to interview, 57% of household reference persons did not move, 19% moved once, 8% moved twice and 15% moved three or more times. Where the reference person was aged between 15 and 24 years, moves occurred more frequently - almost half of this group (49%) had moved three or more times in the last 5 years, a further 20% had moved twice. The proportion that had moved three or more times decreased to 35% for reference persons aged between 25 and 34 years, to 19% for reference persons aged between 35 and 44 years, and progressively lower proportions for older age groups.

3 All households, Number of times reference person had moved in the last five years, by age, 2007-08
Graph: 3 All households, Number of times reference person had moved in the last five years, by age, 2007–08


With the exception of group households, which often reflect relatively short term arrangements, reference persons in one parent families with dependent children moved most frequently, with 24% moving three or more times in the previous five years, compared with 14% of reference persons in couple families with dependent children, 12% of those in couple only households and 15% of lone persons.


Main reason for moving

For recent movers (i.e. those reference persons that had moved in the last 5 years), the most common reasons for moving to their current dwelling were: purchased own dwelling (17%); wanted a bigger or better home (16%); and lifestyle / other reasons (14%). Other reasons included neighbourhood reasons, migration to Australia and returning from living overseas.

4 Recent mover households, Main reason for reference person's most recent move, 2007-08
Graph: 4 Recent mover households, Main reason for reference person's most recent move, 2007–08


The reasons reference persons moved varied significantly with their family composition. The most common main reason for those in couple families with dependent children was that they wanted a bigger or better home (28%), which reflects in part the need to increase their housing space and number of bedrooms as family size increases and children mature. Those in one parent families with dependent children, and lone person households, were most likely to have moved to their current dwelling for other family reasons, with 28% and 18% respectively reporting that the main reason was either: family conflict; breakdown of marriage / relationship; or to be independent.

For reference persons in couple only households, the most common main reasons for moving were: purchased own dwelling (20%); and lifestyle / other reasons (18%). These reasons reflect, among other things, the housing needs and preference of couples at different points in the life cycle: purchasing a home to raise a family, and moving to improve one's lifestyle as children leave home and work commitments reduce.


States and territories

Darwin, Brisbane and Perth were the capital cities with the highest percentage of household reference persons who had moved in the last five years (58%, 47% and 46% respectively), while Adelaide and Hobart had the lowest (both 39%). Darwin, Brisbane and Perth also had the highest proportion of household reference persons that had moved most frequently, with 27%, 17% and 17% respectively moving three times or more in the last five years. This generally reflects these cities' younger age structure, their more mobile work forces, and higher levels of net interstate migration.

5 Proportion of households whose reference person had moved in the last 5 years, States and territories, 2007-08
Graph: 5 Proportion of households whose reference person had moved in the last 5 years, States and territories, 2007–08


Reasons for moving varied across states and territories, with significant differences in moves for lifestyle and employment reasons. Household reference persons in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory were most likely to move for employment reasons, with 23% and 21% respectively reporting that the main reason was either gained / lost job, job transfer or to improve job prospects. Moving for lifestyle / other reasons was more common in Queensland (16%), Western Australia (16%) and Tasmania (16%) than in the other states and territories.

6 Recent mover households, Selected reasons for reference person's most recent move, 2007-08
Graph: 6 Recent mover households, Selected reasons for reference person's most recent move, 2007–08



CONDITION OF DWELLING

Major structural problems

In 2007-08, most Australian dwellings were reported to be in good condition, with 82% of households reporting no major structural problems. For those with problems, cracks in walls or floors were the most often reported (by 6% of all households). Other problems were sinking or moving foundations (4%), walls or windows being out of plumb (4%) and major plumbing problems (3%).

The condition of dwellings varied across tenure and landlord types, with major structural problems of all kinds being most frequently reported by renters from state and territory housing authorities (27%) and private landlords (26%). By comparison, only 14% of owners with or without a mortgage reported a major structural problem.

7 Proportion of households reporting major structural problems, Tenure and landlord type, 2007-08
Graph: 7 Proportion of households reporting major structural problems, Tenure and landlord type, 2007–08


The frequency of major structural problems also varied by state and territory. Households in Victoria and Tasmania were more likely to report major structural problems with their dwelling than those in other states and territories (21% and 19% respectively). Households in Queensland and Northern Territory were the least likely (11% and 14% respectively) to report such problems.


Repairs and maintenance

In 2007-08, 57% of households reported that repairs or maintenance had been carried out on their current dwelling within the last twelve months. The most commonly reported types of repair or maintenance were plumbing (30%), painting (27%) and electrical work (20%). Owners with a mortgage were the most likely to report repairs or maintenance (62%), while private renters were the least likely (51%).

8 Proportion of households that reported repairs or maintenance on their dwellings, Tenure and landlord type, 2007-08
Graph: 8 Proportion of households that reported repairs or maintenance on their dwellings, Tenure and landlord type, 2007–08



SATISFACTION WITH DWELLING

Australians reported high levels of satisfaction with their current dwelling, with 87% of reference persons reporting being either satisfied or very satisfied. Only 5% of household reference persons were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. The highest levels of satisfaction were amongst owners without a mortgage (93%), while the lowest levels of satisfaction were among renters from private landlords and state or territory housing authorities (both 78%).


FEELINGS OF SAFETY

The feelings people have of safety or lack of safety when alone at home often relate to: perceptions of crime levels in their locality; previous experience as a victim of assault or break-in; relationships with people living nearby; a sense of their own strength and capacity to be in control; and their level of trust in their community.

In 2007-08, 94% of people aged 15 years and over reported that they felt safe or very safe alone in their homes during the day, while 87% reported feeling safe or very safe at home alone after dark. People were more likely to feel unsafe or very unsafe at home alone after dark if they lived in a rented dwelling (3% of males and 13% of females) than an owner occupied dwelling (2% of males and 7% of females). Renters from state / territory housing authorities were much more likely to experience feelings of being unsafe than for any other tenure or landlord types, in part reflecting the age of this population and the particular circumstances of their lives which might be expected to affect their views on safety.

A higher proportion of females reported feeling unsafe or very unsafe than males, regardless of age, tenure type or family composition.

9 All persons aged 15 years and over, Proportion of persons who feel unsafe or very unsafe at home alone after dark, 2007-08
Graph: 9 All persons aged 15 years and over, Proportion of persons who feel unsafe or very unsafe at home alone after dark, 2007–08



SOURCES OF ENERGY AND WATER

Sources of energy

The use of electricity is almost universal in Australia, with 99.7% of private dwellings connected (excluding very remote areas of Australia). In 2007-08, households also used: mains gas (49%); LPG or bottled gas (17%); wood (12%); and solar energy (5%). Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia had the highest proportion of users of mains gas in Australia, with 84%, 70% and 67% of households respectively reporting this source. Northern Territory had the highest proportion using solar energy (37%) and Tasmania had the highest proportion using wood (37%).

10 Selected sources of household energy, States and territories, 2007-08
Graph: 10 Selected sources of household energy, States and territories, 2007–08



Sources of water

Mains water is the most common source of water for Australian households. In 2007-08, 94% of Australian households reported sourcing water from the mains / town water supplies. Households also used: rainwater tanks (20%); grey water (7%); purchased bottled drinking water (7%); and water from bores or wells (5%).

Sources of water varied significantly between the states and territories. While South Australia and Queensland had the largest proportion of households that reported a rainwater tank as a source of water (43% and 29% respectively), Western Australia and the Northern Territory had the largest proportion of households that reported a bore or well as a source of water (20% and 9% respectively).


LEASE ARRANGEMENTS FOR RENTER HOUSEHOLDS

In 2007-08, 56% of private renters had a fixed period lease of 6 or 12 months and a further 20% had either a month by month or other fixed period lease arrangement. Six-month leases were most common in Queensland (32%) and Western Australia (22%), while month-by-month leases were most common in New South Wales (24%) and Victoria (22%).

Renters from state or territory housing authorities were most likely have an indefinite tenure arrangement (78%). Only 11% of renters from a state / territory housing authority reported a fixed period lease.

11 Length of current lease or tenure, Private and public renter households, 2007-08
Graph: 11 Length of current lease or tenure, Private and public renter households, 2007–08



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