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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2006  
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Contents >> Housing >> Housing in Sydney – Consolidation and Spread

Housing in Sydney – Consolidation and Spread

Between 1991 and 2005, the geographical outer ring of Sydney experienced the greatest increase (21%) in population compared to the middle (10%) and inner (12%) rings.

Home ownership remains a feature of the Australian identity and has for generations underpinned prosperity and individual wealth (see Australian Social Trends 2006, Components of household wealth).(EndNote 1) Demand for housing is affected by a number of factors including population growth and the ageing population. There has been a move to fewer people in each household with the average size of 2.6 persons per Australian household in 2001 projected to decrease to between 2.2 and 2.3 persons per household by 2026.(EndNote 2) The decrease in household size is partly driven by the ageing of the population which tends to result in more single and two person households.(EndNote 3)

Australia is a highly urbanised country with three-quarters of the population living in urban centres in 2004.(EndNote 4) There has been debate over the balance between consolidating housing within a city's boundaries and new greenfield developments on the fringe of existing cities. Greenfield developments are more likely to provide separate houses (rather than higher density housing such as apartments). On the other hand, consolidation has been promoted as having the potential to address some wider urban problems including reducing the use of cars and increasing access to employment.(EndNote 5)

In this article, Sydney Statistical Division is used as a case study. Changes in population density and housing at the local government area (LGA) level are examined as Sydney's LGA boundaries have remained fairly stable over time. The sprawling nature of Sydney, the costs associated with this and the question of how long this expansion can continue influence the balance between consolidation of housing and greenfield development.(EndNote 5) The NSW Government's metropolitan strategy provides a broad framework to facilitate and manage the growth and development of Sydney over the next 25 years.(EndNote 3) It contains a housing strategy which includes objectives aimed at providing 60–70% of new housing in existing urban areas, with the remaining 30–40% of new housing to be in land release areas.(EndNote 3)


POPULATION OF SYDNEY


2004
2005(a)
2051(b)
%
%
%

Aged less than 15 years
19.3
n.y.a.
15.2
Aged 15–64 years
68.7
n.y.a.
23.7
Aged 65 years and over
12.1
n.y.a.
61.1
Total
100.0
. .
100.0

'000
'000
'000
Total
4 225.1
4 254.9
5 608.8

(a) Estimated resident population for 2005 data is preliminary.
(b) Series B projection.

Source: Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2004–05 (ABS cat. no. 3218.0), Population Projections, Australia, 2004–2101 (ABS cat. no. 3222.0).



Population estimates and geography


Data in this article relating to 2005 population estimates and population density are calculated using mathematical modelling (see Regional Population Growth, Australia, 200405, ABS cat. no. 3218.0 for further details.)

Local Government Areas (LGAs). These areas are the spatial units which represent the geographical areas of incorporated local government councils. To allow comparison over time, this article contains data presented according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 Edition, which refers to boundaries for LGAs as defined at 1 July 2001.

In this article, LGAs in Sydney's Statistical Division have been divided among 3 rings: inner, middle and outer. (EndNote 6)

The inner ring includes: Ashfield, Botany, Lane Cove, Leichhardt, Marrickville, Mosman, North Sydney, Randwick, South Sydney, Sydney City, Waverley and Woollahra.

The middle ring includes: Auburn, Bankstown, Burwood, Canterbury, Concord and Drummoyne (now Canada Bay), Hunters Hill, Hurstville, Kogarah, Ku-ring-gai, Manly, Parramatta, Rockdale, Ryde, Strathfield and Willoughby.

The outer ring includes Baulkham Hills, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Gosford, Hawkesbury, Holroyd, Hornsby, Liverpool, Penrith, Pittwater, Sutherland, Warringah, Wollondilly and Wyong.




POPULATION DENSITY


In 2005, Sydney's population was estimated to be 4.3 million which was 63% of the NSW population and around one-fifth (21%) of the Australian population. To aid analysis in this article, Sydney's LGAs have been divided into three geographical rings: outer, middle and inner.(EndNote 6) In 2005, it was estimated that the outer ring contained over 2.3 million people (55%), the middle ring over 1.2 million (28%) and the inner ring over 700,000 (17%).

As would be expected, on average in both 1991 and 2005 the LGAs in the inner ring of Sydney had a higher population density (people per square kilometre) than LGAs in the outer ring. This is consistent with the greater proportion of units and apartments in the inner ring which accommodate more people per square kilometre. In 2005, Waverley (inner ring) had the highest population density with 6,647 people per square kilometre and Wollondilly (outer ring) had the lowest density (16 people per square kilometre) compared with all other LGAs. To put the population density of Sydney in perspective, in 2002 inner London had a population density of 8,980 while in outer London there were 3,582 people per square kilometre.(EndNote 7)

Between 1991 and 2005, Sydney's population grew by over half a million (582,000). The majority (68%) of the growth occurred in the outer ring, which increased by 21% in the fourteen years to 2005. Over the same period, growth in the denser middle and inner rings was more modest with increases of 10% and 12% respectively.

Within the outer ring, Camden and Liverpool experienced the greatest proportional growth in population between 1991 and 2005 (119% and 68% respectively), while Wyong's population increased by over one-third (37%).

Around half of the LGAs in the middle ring experienced a growth in population under 10% and the other half between 11% and 30% in the 1991–2005 period. Concord (now part of Canada Bay) grew by one-third (33%). In this same time period, most of the LGAs in the inner ring had increases in population of 10% or less. Three of the LGAs in the inner ring increased by more than 10%: Sydney City by 369%, South Sydney by 41% and North Sydney by 18%. The rapid growth in Sydney City was the result of an increase in the number of higher density dwellings in this LGA.



POPULATION DENSITY IN SELECTED SYDNEY LGAs — 1991 and 2005(a)

Highest density LGAs
1991
2005(a)
Change
1991 to 2005
Lowest density LGAs
1991
2005(a)
Change
1991 to 2005
persons/km2
persons/km2
%
persons/km2
persons/km2
%

Waverley
6 657.4
6 647.1
-0.2
Wollondilly
12.3
16.2
32.2
North Sydney
4 909.1
5 806.0
18.3
Hawkesbury
19.1
23.0
20.6
South Sydney
3 945.2
5 566.2
41.1
Blue Mountains
50.5
53.4
5.7
Leichhardt
4 675.1
5 145.2
10.1
Gosford
143.4
173.7
21.2
Sydney City
1 088.5
5 104.3
368.9
Wyong
141.0
192.5
36.5
Ashfield
5 026.8
4 824.6
-4.0
Camden
116.4
255.2
119.3
Marrickville
4 889.3
4 541.4
-7.1
Hornsby
291.2
340.0
16.7
Burwood
4 125.2
4 356.1
5.6
Baulkham Hills
302.2
402.1
33.1
Drummoyne
3 830.5
4 302.9
12.3
Penrith
382.7
439.7
14.9
Woollahra
4 159.6
4 297.2
3.3
Campbelltown
455.8
481.1
5.6

(a) Preliminary figures.

Source: Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2004–05 (ABS cat. no. 3218.0).


ESTIMATED RESIDENT POPULATION OF SYDNEY — 1991 and 2005(a)

ERP 1991
ERP 2005(a)
Change 1991 to 2005(a)

Rings
'000
'000
% change
% contribution
to growth

Outer
1 934.1
2 331.7
20.6
68.3
Middle
1 103.5
1 209.4
9.6
18.2
Inner
635.3
713.7
12.3
13.5
Total for Sydney
3 672.9
4 254.9
15.8
100.0

(a) Preliminary figures.

Source: Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2004–05 (ABS cat. no. 3218.0).


PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN POPULATION BETWEEN 1991 AND 2005(a) – Outer ring of Sydney

                (a) Preliminary figures.

                Source: ABS Regional Population Growth, Australia.


PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN POPULATION BETWEEN 1991 AND 2005(a) – Middle and inner rings of Sydney: Enlargement

                (a) Preliminary figures.

                Source: ABS Regional Population Growth, Australia.


WHO LIVES IN OUTER, MIDDLE AND INNER SYDNEY?


...AGE

In 2004, a greater proportion of the population in the outer (22%) and middle ring (19%) were dependent children (aged 0–14 years) than in the inner ring (13%). By comparison, the inner ring (23%) had a greater proportion of people aged between 25–34 years compared with the middle and outer rings (15% and 14% respectively).


AGE PROFILE OF SYDNEY — 2004

Outer ring
Middle ring
Inner ring
%
%
%

Age (years)
0–14
21.6
18.5
12.8
15–24
14.2
13.8
14.0
25–34
14.3
15.4
22.7
35–44
15.1
15.3
16.2
45–54
13.8
13.1
12.5
55–64
10.0
9.9
9.6
65 and over
11.0
14.1
12.1
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0

'000
'000
'000
Total number of people
2 310.5
1 201.7
713.0

Source: Population by age and sex, Australia, 2004 (ABS cat. no. 3235.0.55.001).


...HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION

Around three-quarters (77%) of households in the outer ring were family households compared with just over two-thirds (70%) in the middle ring and just over one half (52%) in the inner ring. There was a similar proportion of couple family households without children among the three rings (around 22%). However, couple families with children were more common in the outer (41%) and middle (35%) rings than in the inner ring (19%).

A greater proportion of households in the inner ring were lone person households (31%) compared with the middle (22%) and outer (18%) rings. Around one in ten households (9%) in the inner ring were group households.


HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION IN SYDNEY — 2001

Outer ring
Middle ring
Inner ring
Household type
%
%
%

One family households
75.5
68.1
51.6
Couple family with no children
22.2
21.1
22.6
Couple family with at least one child under 15 years
27.9
23.1
12.9
Couple family with children 15 years and over only
13.1
12.1
6.5
One parent families with at least one child under 15 years
6.1
4.4
3.2
One parent families with children 15 years and over only
6.2
7.3
6.3
Multiple family households
1.7
2.0
0.8
Total family households
77.2
70.1
52.3
Non-family households
20.3
26.1
39.1
Lone person
17.8
22.2
30.6
Group household
2.5
3.9
9.0
Other households
2.5
3.8
8.1
Total households
100.0
100.0
100.0

'000
'000
'000
Total number of households
770.0
365.9
287.1

Source: ABS 2001 Census of Population and Housing.


...DWELLING TYPE

Not surprisingly, in 2001 the vast majority of dwellings in the outer ring were separate houses (80%) compared with the middle (59%) and inner (23%) rings where land was at a premium. Flats, units and apartments were much more common in the inner ring (55%) compared with the middle (30%) and outer (11%) rings.


DWELLING TYPE IN SYDNEY — 2001

Outer ring
Middle ring
Inner ring
Sydney
%
%
%
%

Separate house
79.6
59.3
23.3
62.8
Semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse
8.6
10.3
20.4
11.5
Flat, unit or apartment
10.9
29.7
55.1
24.9
Other
0.8
0.7
1.1
0.9
All dwellings
100
100
100
100

'000
'000
'000
'000
Total number of dwellings
830.6
396.6
322.1
1 549.4

Source: ABS 2001 Census of Population and Housing.


...TENURE TYPE

In 2001, almost three-quarters (73%) of dwellings in the outer ring were either fully owned or being purchased, compared with almost two-thirds (65%) of the dwellings in the middle ring and half (50%) of the dwellings in the inner ring. Renting was the most common tenure type in Sydney's inner ring.

TENURE TYPE IN SYDNEY — 2001

Outer ring
Middle ring
Inner ring
Tenure type
%
%
%

Fully owned
42.3
45.9
33.3
Being purchased
30.8
19.4
17.1
Rented
24.4
32.1
47.2
Other
2.6
2.6
2.4
All dwellings
100.0
100.0
100.0

Source: ABS 2001 Census of Population and Housing.


...HOME AND WORK LOCATION

The majority (61%) of people in Sydney in 2001 lived and worked in the same geographical ring. However, a greater proportion of people both lived and worked in the inner ring (83%) where there were concentrations of employment, than lived and worked in either the middle (50%) or outer ring (58%). A considerable number of people (over 320,000) travelled from the outer and middle rings to the inner ring to work.

The 2003 NSW Household Travel Survey found that the distance people travelled was related to the trip's purpose with trips to work being the longest on average.(EndNote 8)


HOME AND WORK LOCATION IN SYDNEY — 2001
GRAPH: HOME AND WORK LOCATION IN SYDNEY — 2001



BUILDING APPROVALS

On average, between 2001 and 2005 there were 27,500 approvals per year for new residential buildings in Sydney. This number was equivalent to 1.8% of the total Sydney housing stock in 2001.

Just over half (51%) of all approvals for new residential buildings in the 2001–2005 period were for those situated in the outer ring, with 28% of all dwelling approvals in the middle ring and 20% of all approvals for dwellings in the inner ring.

Of all approvals in the outer ring, most (57%) were for houses, with 23% for flats, units or apartments and 20% for semi-detached, row or terrace houses. Conversely, within the inner ring, 86% of residential building approvals were for flats, units or apartments. Semi-detached, row or terrace houses accounted for 7% of the approvals in the inner ring as did separate houses.

Between 1991–1995 and 2001–2005 the trend in housing approvals has been toward higher density housing (flats, units and apartments) and away from separate houses. Between 1991–1995, houses contributed almost half (49%) of total residential building approvals, compared with 38% in 2001–05. Similarly, flats, units and apartments made up 28% of approvals in 1991–1995, increasing to 44% of the 2001–2005 building approvals.



AVERAGE ANNUAL RESIDENTIAL BUILDING APPROVALS IN SYDNEY — 2001–2005

Outer ring
Middle ring
Inner ring
Sydney
%
%
%
%

Type of residential building approved
Houses
56.9
20.9
6.6
37.7
Semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses
19.7
22.8
7.3
18.6
Flats, units or apartments
23.3
56.3
86.1
43.7
Average annual approvals
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

no.
no.
no.
no.
Average annual approvals
14 161
7 794
5 548
27 503

Source: Building approvals, Australia, 2005 (ABS cat. no. 8731.0).


ENDNOTES
1 Housing Industry Association 2005, Housing Regulation in Victoria - Building Better Outcomes, HIA, Melbourne.
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2004, Household and Family Projections, Australia, 2001 to 2026, cat. no. 3236.0, ABS, Canberra.
3 Department of Planning 2005, City of Cities: A plan for Sydney's Future, Supporting Information, NSW Department of Planning, Sydney.
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006, Year Book Australia, 2006, cat. no. 3101.0, ABS, Canberra.
5 University of Western Sydney 2001, The local impacts of urban consolidation: The experience of three councils, Final Report, Urban Frontiers Program, Sydney.
6 NewSouth Wales Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, email 12 December 2005, <tpdc@dipnr.nsw.gov.au>.
7 Statbase database, Office for National Statistics, Population density 2002, viewed 20 February 2006,<http://www.statistics.gov.uk/Statbase/Expodata/Spreadsheets/D7645.xls>.
8 Transport and Population Data Centre 2004, 2002 Household Travel Survey Summary Report, NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, Sydney.


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