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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Housing

HOUSING AND LIFE CYCLE STAGES

As people progress through different life cycle stages and their family structures and financial situations change, so do their housing needs and preferences. For young people leaving their parental home, a typical life experience with housing might begin with renting a small flat or unit for themselves or sharing a group house, then moving on to renting an apartment or house with their partner while saving for a deposit on their first home. Many couples will buy their first home and pay off a considerable part of their mortgage before having their first child.

As the number and age of children increase, many families will upgrade to a larger house. After the children have left home, most home owners will probably remain in the same home at least until retirement, by which time most will own their home outright. After retirement, some will change location, and in doing so a few will choose a smaller home, possibly a unit in a retirement village. Later, some who are too old or frail to live in their own home will move into cared accommodation (see Residential aged care in the HOUSING ASSISTANCE section).

While most Australians aspire to own their home outright, at least by the time they retire, many on low incomes cannot afford to buy a home and some cannot afford to rent adequate housing. There is a range of government programs aimed at assisting low income households to buy or rent suitable and affordable housing (see HOUSING ASSISTANCE).

In 2009–10, almost half of young (reference person aged under 35 years) couple only households, and over half of young couples with dependent children, owned their own home (49% and 55% respectively) (graph 10.20 and table 10.22). The home ownership rate was considerably lower for young lone person households (35%). Home ownership rates generally increased with age of reference person.

In 2009–10, one parent families with dependent children had the lowest home ownership rate (40%) and the highest proportion of renters, particularly public renters, with 13% of such households renting from a state or territory housing authority and 43% renting privately (table 10.24). Lone person households also had relatively high proportions of renters, with 7% renting from a state or territory housing authority and 27% renting privately.

Graph 10.20 Home ownership rates, By household composition—2009–10



For all age groups, lone person and couple only households were more likely to have one or more spare bedrooms than couple families with children (graph 10.21). In 2009–10, 87% of lone person households and 98% of couple only households had one or more spare bedrooms, compared with 68% of couple families with children (table 10.22).

Graph 10.21 Households with one or more spare bedrooms(a)—2009–10


10.22 SELECTED HOUSEHOLD AND DWELLING CHARACTERISTICS(a)—2009–10

Proportion of households with characteristic

Estimated
number of
households
Average number
of persons in household
Average number
of bedrooms in dwelling
One or
more spare bedrooms(b)
Living in separate
house
Living in
flat/ unit/
apartment
Home
owner
Renter
Household composition
'000
no.
no.
%
%
%
%
%

REFERENCE PERSON AGED UNDER 35 YEARS

Lone person
330.5
1.0
2.3
78.8
44.2
38.7
35.1
57.7
Couple only
469.1
2.0
2.7
92.1
61.3
23.8
48.8
48.1
Couple family with dependent children
438.4
3.9
3.2
69.8
82.6
5.8
55.2
40.3
One parent family with dependent children
143.2
3.2
2.9
40.6
78.4
12.4
12.4
83.1
All households(c)
1 731. 6
2.6
2.8
68.9
63.7
21.6
39.3
56.0

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 35–44 YEARS

Lone person
256.4
1.0
2.5
84.5
54.5
28.2
45.7
50.3
Couple only
192.1
2.0
2.8
96.8
67.4
15.4
60.5
36.0
Couple family with dependent children
935.4
4.3
3.5
69.5
89.4
3.6
76.8
21.0
One parent family with dependent children
206.4
3.2
3.2
47.1
84.0
5.7
38.3
57.8
All households(c)
1 728.0
3.3
3.3
71.3
80.1
9.7
63.7
33.4

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 45–54 YEARS

Lone person
306.3
1.0
2.6
89.3
64.1
19.4
53.9
40.5
Couple only
254.7
2.0
3.2
98.6
87.0
6.1
82.6
13.8
Couple family with dependent children
660.3
4.1
3.7
65.3
90.9
*3.5
87.3
11.4
One parent family with dependent children
145.7
2.9
3.2
48.4
87.7
*4.4
59.7
36.0
All households(c)
1 707.8
3.0
3.4
74.1
85.3
6.5
76.2
20.7

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 55–64 YEARS

Lone person
420.1
1.0
2.6
90.8
66.3
16.3
65.2
29.8
Couple only
542.4
2.0
3.3
99.3
91.8
3.0
90.1
7.9
Couple family with dependent children
156.0
4.0
3.8
71.4
92.1
**1.6
88.4
9.4
All households(c)
1 463.6
2.2
3.2
88.0
84.0
6.8
81.7
15.4

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 65 AND OVER

Lone person
742.0
1.0
2.6
89.4
69.2
14.6
75.9
17.6
Couple only
741.6
2.0
3.2
99.4
89.2
4.1
91.4
5.8
All households(c)
1 767.5
1.7
3.0
91.4
80.8
8.3
84.6
11.1

ALL AGE GROUPS
Lone person
2 055.2
1.0
2.5
87.4
62.0
21.2
60.1
34.0
Couple only
2 199.9
2.0
3.1
97.5
81.7
9.2
78.2
18.9
Couple family with dependent children
2 206.8
4.1
3.6
68.3
88.7
3.8
76.5
21.1
One parent family with dependent children
535.2
3.1
3.2
46.3
83.8
7.3
39.9
55.9
All households(c)
8 398.5
2.6
3.1
78.5
78.6
10.7
68.8
27.6

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
(a) By age group of household reference person.
(b) As measured against the Canadian National Occupancy Standard.
(c) Includes all other family and household types.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Income and Housing.


There are long-term benefits in home ownership. Initially, the cost of home purchase is often far greater than the cost of renting (due to the costs of deposits and fees, as well as ongoing mortgage repayments). However, the much lower costs associated with owning a home outright, and the investment that a home represents, can be major contributors to economic wellbeing, particularly for older people, who may retire on considerably reduced incomes.

In 2009–10, the average weekly housing costs of young households with a mortgage was $470 – 46% more than the average weekly rent of young private renters (graph 10.23). However, the difference in housing costs between owners with a mortgage and private renters was less for older age groups, reflecting the former's lower mortgage payments.

Graph 10.23 Average weekly housing costs, By tenure—2009–10


The difference in housing costs between younger and older owners with a mortgage is largely a reflection of the difference in house prices, and hence the amount borrowed, at the time of purchase. On average, recent home buyers paid higher prices than those who bought their homes ten or more years ago. In 2009–10, about 60% of young households (reference person aged under 35 years) with a mortgage were recent home buyers compared with 4% of the oldest home owners (reference person aged 65 years and over) with a mortgage (table 10.24). The average mortgage outstanding for young home owners was $255,443 compared with $74,761 for the oldest.

In 2009–10, average weekly housing costs were highest for young households (reference person aged under 35 years) renting privately at $321, declining with age to $204 for households with a reference person aged 65 years and over. This pattern largely reflects the need for larger households to rent larger, and often more expensive, dwellings. In 2009–10, couple families with dependent children represented 39% of young private renter households, 20% of those with a reference person aged 35–44 years and 10% of those with a reference person aged 45–54 years.

Average weekly rents paid by public renters were less than half those of private renters, starting at $136 for younger households and declining to $95 for the oldest. Owners without a mortgage had by far the lowest and least variable housing costs, averaging $35 per week overall.


10.24 HOUSING COSTS, MORTGAGE, AND TENURE AND LANDLORD TYPE(a)—2009–10

Proportion of households with characteristic

Average weekly housing costs
Average housing costs
as a proportion of gross
household income(b)
Average amount
of mortgage outstanding(c)
Proportion of owners with a mortgage who are recent home buyers(d)
Owner without
a mortgage
Owner with
a mortgage
Renter
state/territory housing authority
Renter
private
landlord
Household composition
$
%
$'000
%
%
%
%
%

REFERENCE PERSON AGED UNDER 35 YEARS

Lone person
285
25
220
66.5
*3.5
31.6
*2.1
55.6
Couple only
400
19
282
67.1
*1.7
47.0
**0.5
47.5
Couple family with dependent children
367
20
251
47.2
4.4
50.7
*1.7
38.6
One parent family with dependent children
226
27
160
*56.8
**1.3
11.0
15.3
67.8
All households(e)
351
20
255
59.9
2.8
36.5
2.6
53.4

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 35–44 YEARS

Lone person
263
22
197
29.4
11.1
34.6
5.8
44.5
Couple only
380
17
262
38.3
10.1
50.4
*1.5
34.5
Couple family with dependent children
389
16
235
28.3
9.6
67.2
*1.1
20.0
One parent family with dependent children
267
26
223
27.1
5.9
32.4
13.8
44.0
All households(e)
352
18
233
29.6
9.3
54.4
3.7
29.7

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 45–54 YEARS

Lone person
189
19
138
20.4
22.5
31.3
10.0
30.5
Couple only
251
12
169
25.6
29.9
52.7
*1.7
12.1
Couple family with dependent children
328
12
198
15.7
21.4
65.8
1.6
9.8
One parent family with dependent children
218
16
150
*15.9
20.6
39.1
9.4
26.7
All households(e)
268
12
179
17.3
23.9
52.3
4.2
16.5

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 55–64 YEARS

Lone person
123
15
120
16.6
44.6
20.7
9.3
20.6
Couple only
147
9
145
13.5
57.4
32.6
1.7
6.2
Couple family with dependent children
240
8
178
*7.5
40.9
47.5
*1.1
8.3
All households(e)
158
10
143
12.1
50.3
31.4
4.2
11.1

REFERENCE PERSON AGED 65 AND OVER

Lone person
48
10
66
**1.5
71.8
4.1
8.3
9.3
Couple only
50
5
65
*5.5
84.0
7.3
2.0
3.9
All households(e)
56
7
75
*3.5
78.1
6.5
4.8
6.3

ALL AGE GROUPS

Lone person
149
18
163
32.0
40.3
19.8
7.4
26.6
Couple only
201
13
204
36.1
47.2
31.0
1.5
17.4
Couple family with dependent children
354
14
223
26.3
14.8
61.7
1.3
19.7
One parent family with dependent children
231
21
180
24.8
11.7
28.2
12.6
43.2
All households(e)
239
14
202
28.6
32.6
36.2
3.9
23.7

* estimate has relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered unreliable for general use
(a) By age group of household reference person.
(b) Excludes households with nil and negative income.
(c) Only includes owners with a mortgage.
(d) Owners who built or purchased their dwelling in the three years prior to the survey.
(e) All Australian households, including other family and household types.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Income and Housing.


Much of the variation in housing costs between households at different life cycle stages is related to differences in tenure patterns. For example, in 2009–10, households with a reference person aged 35–44 years had the highest average weekly housing costs ($352), as well as the highest proportion of owners with a mortgage (54%) and the second highest average amount of mortgage outstanding ($232,800).

Older households (with a reference person aged 65 years and over) had the highest proportion of home owners without a mortgage (78%), and whilst having the lowest proportion of private renters (6%), had the highest proportion of public renters (5%). Together, these factors resulted in this group having the lowest average weekly housing costs ($56).

Consistent with housing costs, the proportion of household income spent on housing declines with age, but to a lesser extent. For example, in 2009–10, the oldest lone person households paid an average of $48 per week (10% of their gross household income) for housing, while the youngest lone person household paid $285 (25% of their gross household income) for housing.

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.


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