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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/02/2011  Final
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Contents >> Housing circumstances >> Housing Tenure


HOUSING CIRCUMSTANCES: HOUSING TENURE
This article is part of a comprehensive series released as The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

KEY MESSAGES
  • In 2008, the majority (69%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (adults) were living in rented housing.
  • Less than one-third (29%) of adults were living in owned homes nationally, with the highest rate in major cities (39%).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults with higher levels of non-school qualifications and higher levels of household income were much more likely to live in owned homes, and less likely to be renting, than those without non-school qualifications or with lower household income.

The type of housing tenure a person lives under may have an impact on their housing security and mobility. Home ownership is considered a more secure form of housing tenure than renting, with the benefit of long term wealth creation in the form of owner-occupied housing (Endnote 1). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are much less likely to own their homes when compared with other Australians, and therefore may be at greater risk of insecure housing and less likely to have significant assets which can be utilised over the life course, particularly in times of financial crisis. However, the benefits of renting, in particular the greater voluntary housing mobility afforded to renters, may better suit the housing needs of some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Endnote 1).

This topic presents results from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) which provides the most recent data for housing tenure.

In 2008, 29% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over (adults) were living in dwellings that were either owned outright or owned with a mortgage and more than two-thirds (69%) were living in a rented property. Between 2002 and 2008, rates of outright ownership and renting remained stable, however, there was a small increase in the proportion of adults living in a mortgaged property (17% in 2002 to 20% in 2008).

As shown in table 1.1, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults in major cities were more than five times as likely as those in remote areas to live in a dwelling with a mortgage (27% compared with 5%) and were twice as likely to be living in a dwelling that was owned outright (10% compared with 5%). Conversely, those in remote areas were more likely to be renting, with 85% living in a rented property compared with 60% in major cities. In remote areas, 44% of adults were living in housing owned by community or Indigenous housing organisations

The most recent information on tenure type for the non-Indigenous population is available from the 2007–08 Survey of Income and Housing. In 2008, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were around half as likely as non-Indigenous adults to live in a property that was owned outright or being purchased and were two and a half times as likely to live in a rented dwelling (table 1.1).

1.1 HOUSEHOLD TENURE TYPE, persons aged 15 years and over

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Non-Indigenous
2002
2008(a)
2007–08
Total
Major Cities
Regional
Remote
Total
Total

Owners
Owner without a mortgage
%
9.7
10.3
8.9
5.4
8.5
33.4
Owner with a mortgage
%
(e)16.8
27.4
23.5
4.8
(e)20.1
39.0
Total owners(b)
%
27.4
38.6
33.3
10.6
29.4
72.3
Renters
State or Territory housing authority
%
22.1
23.0
23.0
24.0
23.3
3.2
Indigenous Housing Organisation / Community housing
%
(e)23.5
3.1
8.0
43.8
(e)15.3
. .
Private and other renter
%
(e)23.3
33.8
33.9
17.4
(e)29.8
23.0
Total renters(c)
%
69.7
60.1
65.0
85.4
68.5
26.1
Total(d)
%
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
Total persons(d)
no.
282 205
105 217
140 383
81 501
327 101
16 373 300

(a) 2008 NATSISS landlord type data should be used with caution, see Endnote 2 for more detail.
(b) Includes participants of rent/buy schemes.
(c) Includes landlord type not known.
(d) Includes persons in households of other tenure types.
(e) Difference between 2002 and 2008 is statistically significant.
Source: 2002 and 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2007–08 Survey of Income and Housing. These estimates are also available for download in the Housing Circumstances datacube.


LINKS BETWEEN TENURE, EDUCATION AND INCOME

Home ownership increases with higher levels of educational attainment and income. In 2008, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults whose highest level of non-school qualification was a Certificate III or above were much more likely to live in a home that was owned or being purchased (44%) than those without a non-school qualification (25%). They were also less likely to be renting (55%) than those without a non-school qualification (72%).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults whose equivalised gross household income was in the highest two income quintiles were nearly three times as likely to own or be purchasing their home than those in the lowest two income quintiles (59% and 21% respectively). Conversely, they were also less likely to be renting (39% compared with 77%) (graph 1.2).

1.2 HOUSING TENURE BY EQUIVALISED GROSS HOUSEHOLD INCOME, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over—2008
chart: Housing tenure by equivalised gross household income, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over, 2008
(a) Includes participants of rent/buy schemes
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.
These estimates are also available for download in the Housing Circumstances datacube.

ENDNOTES

1. Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2010, 'Indigenous Home Ownership Issues Paper', FaHCSIA, Canberra <www.fahcsia.gov.au>.

2. Due to changes in collection methodology across NATSISS surveys, NATSISS 2008 landlord type estimates (for renters) may overestimate 'Private and other renters' and underestimate 'State and Territory housing authority' and 'Indigenous Housing Organisation/Community housing'. Estimates should be used with caution, particularly when examining changes over time.



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