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Home ownership provides a relatively secure form of housing tenure. There are much lower rates of home ownership among Indigenous households, partly reflecting the lower socioeconomic status of many Indigenous households and the fact that one-quarter of the Indigenous population live on Indigenous land in remote areas where individual home ownership is generally not possible. In 2006, 11% of Indigenous households were home owner households without a mortgage and 23% were home owner households with a mortgage (figure 4.1).
As most residents of Indigenous households are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, the proportion of Indigenous people in Indigenous households, by tenure type, is broadly similar to the distribution of Indigenous households by tenure type. However, there are some differences related to the size of households across the different tenure types (see table 4.8). There was a larger proportion of Indigenous people living in Indigenous or mainstream community housing (17%) than the proportion of Indigenous households with this tenure type (9%). In contrast, a smaller proportion of Indigenous people were living in home owner households (28%) than the proportion of home owner households (34%) (table 4.2). This reflects the larger average household size for those living in Indigenous or mainstream community housing (see table 4.8). Information about the housing circumstances of Indigenous people, in addition to Indigenous households, is shown in selected tables in this chapter.
Changes over time in housing tenure
Between 2001 and 2006 the proportion of Indigenous home owner households increased from 31% to 34%. The proportion of these households without a mortgage decreased from 13% in 2001 to 11% in 2006, while the proportion with a mortgage increased from 18% to 23% over the same period (table 4.2). The proportions of Indigenous households renting from Indigenous or mainstream community housing organisations and those renting from private or other providers, fell by around two percentage points between 2001 and 2006, while the proportion of Indigenous households renting from state housing authorities remained relatively unchanged over this period.
Consistent with increases in the proportion of households living in dwellings that were being purchased, the proportion of Indigenous people living in these dwellings increased from 16% in 2001 to 20% in 2006 (table 4.2). Over the same period, there was a decrease in the proportion of Indigenous people living in Indigenous or mainstream community housing (from 21% in 2001 to 17% in 2006).
Tenure by state and territory
The tenure type of Indigenous households varies by state and territory, partly reflecting differences in the types of housing that are available to Indigenous people. In 2006, the Northern Territory had the lowest proportion of Indigenous home owner households (18%) and the highest proportion of households in Indigenous or mainstream community housing (41%). Tasmania, on the other hand, had a relatively high proportion of Indigenous home owner households (52%) and just 1% of Indigenous households in Indigenous or mainstream community housing (table 4.3).
Rates of home ownership were highest in jurisdictions with mainly urban Indigenous populations - Tasmania (52%), the Australian Capital Territory (42%) and Victoria (39%). The proportions of Indigenous households renting from private and other landlords were highest in Queensland (37%), New South Wales (32%), and Victoria (31%). Relative to other jurisdictions, South Australia (29%), the Australian Capital Territory (27%) and Western Australia (26%) had high proportions of Indigenous households renting from state/territory housing authorities (table 4.3). State and territory housing authorities provide both public housing and state and territory owned and managed Indigenous housing (SOMIH). Information on SOMIH is covered in some detail in later sections of this chapter.
At the state/territory level, the distribution of Indigenous people, by tenure type, is broadly similar to the proportions of Indigenous households by tenure type. Variation is due to differences in the size of households by tenure type. For example, the proportion of Indigenous people living in Indigenous or mainstream community housing in the Northern Territory was significantly greater than the proportion of Indigenous households in these types of dwellings (63% compared with 41%) (table 4.3). This difference reflects the higher average number of people living in Indigenous or mainstream community housing (five people per dwelling) compared with other types of housing (three people per dwelling). For more information on household size by tenure, see table 4.8.
Tenure by Remoteness Areas
In 2006, there were around 24,300 Indigenous households (15%) in remote or very remote areas, 76,000 (46%) living in inner and outer regional areas and 66,300 (40%) living in major cities. Tenure type varied by remoteness, reflecting the different housing options available to Indigenous people in different locations, as well as the generally lower socioeconomic status of Indigenous households in more remote areas.
Home ownership rates (with or without a mortgage) were highest among Indigenous households in inner regional areas (38%) and lowest among those in very remote areas (8%). The proportion of Indigenous households living in Indigenous or mainstream community housing was highest in very remote areas (55%) (graph 4.4).