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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Housing >> Types of dwellings


A small proportion of Australians live in institutional settings such as hostels, boarding houses, residential colleges, staff quarters, prisons, corrective and detention institutions, nursing homes and other welfare institutions. However, the vast majority (around 98%) are members of households living in private self-contained dwellings such as houses, flats or units.

Of the 8.1 million households living in private dwellings in 2007-08, 78% were living in separate houses, 13% in flats, units or apartments, and 9% in semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses.

For Australia's five most populous cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide) the proportion of households living in separate houses ranged from 61% in Sydney to 81% in Brisbane. The average across all eight capital cities was 73%. Outside of capital cities, the proportion of households living in separate houses was higher - more than 85% in all states except Queensland. Higher density housing was most common in capital cities, particularly in Sydney, where approximately one in four households were living in flats, units or apartments in 2007-08 (graph 10.1).

10.1 Capital city households, By dwelling structure - 2007-08
Graph: 10.1 Capital city households, By dwelling structure—2007–08

Separate houses are generally larger and have more bedrooms than other dwelling types. Typically, separate houses have three or four bedrooms; semi-detached houses have two or three bedrooms; and flats, units or apartments have one or two bedrooms.

The three-bedroom house is by far the most common type of dwelling in Australia. In 2007-08, 41% of all households were living in separate houses with three bedrooms, while a further 28% were living in houses with four or more bedrooms (table 10.2). In total, 76% of households were living in dwellings (mainly houses) with three or more bedrooms; 20% were living in two-bedroom dwellings (houses, row or terrace houses, townhouses, flats, units or apartments); and 4% were living in one-bedroom dwellings (mainly flats, units or apartments).

10.2 ALL HOUSEHOLDS, By dwelling structure and number of bedrooms - 2007-08

row or terrace house/
All households(a)

One bedroom
Two bedrooms
1 609.2
Three bedrooms
3 290.7
3 739.6
Four or more bedrooms
2 300.4
2 381.0
6 311.3
1 042.0
8 077.3

** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
(a) Includes other dwelling structures.
(b) Includes bed-sits and dwellings with no bedrooms.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Income and Housing.

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