APPENDIX 1 ABS HOUSING STATISTICS
ABS HOUSING STATISTICS
Apart from the SIH, two other ABS household surveys have collected housing costs data. They are the Australian Housing Survey (AHS) and Household Expenditure Survey (HES). The purpose and methodology of each survey is different and as a result the measures for housing items also differ.
The AHS collected information on the physical characteristics and condition of dwellings, housing occupancy, housing costs, tenure, and mobility. The most recent AHS was conducted between September and December 1999 as a user funded survey. It incorporated a significant supplementary sample to provide estimates for the housing circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (excluding those living in sparsely settled or remote areas of Australia).
The HES collects detailed information on the expenditure of households on goods and services throughout Australia. At the same time the survey provides information about household income and finances, household size and composition and other characteristics useful for the analysis of expenditure patterns of people resident in private dwellings throughout Australia. The 2003-04 survey was conducted on a subsample of the households in the 2003-04 SIH.
A key item in each of these surveys is housing costs. For analyses of the mortgage component of housing costs, it is sometimes useful to make the distinction between the interest component and the principal, or capital, component. For many purposes it is more appropriate to consider the repayments of principal as a form of saving rather than as a recurrent housing cost. It reflects the purchase of a housing asset by increasing the equity in the property held by the household and is an addition to the wealth of the occupants. Data on the split between interest and capital repayments on mortgages has been collected in the HES.
Housing costs might also include a range of other outlays which are necessary to ensure that the dwelling can continue to provide an appropriate level of housing services. Repairs, maintenance and dwelling insurance represent consumption and use of a housing asset, and are costs that tend to be incurred by owner occupier households, but not by renting households. Expenditure data on each of these is collected in the HES. Previous HES data shows that if these costs were added to SIH cost estimates, the estimates of average housing costs would double for owners without a mortgage and would increase by 15% for owners with a mortgage.
Commencing in 2003-04, extra information on housing costs was collected in the SIH, including the following:
- loan repayments made by owners with a mortgage were able to be split into an interest component and a principal component. The 2005-06 SIH indicated that about 35% of the housing costs of owners with a mortgage comprised principal repayments
- housing costs information for tenure types other than owners and renters (such as rent-buy and shared equity arrangements) was collected
- information on body corporate payments was collected
- where a payment was refunded by a business or someone outside the household, the amount of the refund was collected
- where a loan had multiple purposes, details of all purposes were collected, so repayments could be allocated to each purpose in accordance with the percentage split of the original loan amount by purpose.
The measure of housing costs used throughout this publication includes all current and capital housing cost components collected in the SIH. The ABS offers specialist consultancy services to assist clients who require disaggregated housing costs data. Clients may also wish to analyse the SIH CURF.
The table below summarises what has been collected on housing costs in the most recent AHS, HES and SIH surveys.
FUTURE ABS SURVEYS
A 1998-99 review of the ABS household survey program concluded that the content of the AHS was largely covered by other ABS surveys and that it would be more cost effective to collect the required additional information in existing survey vehicles.
Since 2003-04 the SIH has been conducted every two years. Commencing in the 2007-08 survey, and every six years thereafter, the ABS will include an expanded housing module in the SIH to report the housing circumstances of non-Indigenous Australians. The housing module is collecting information about the dwelling, such as the need for repair and any major structural problems, and housing mobility, for example identifying people who moved in the five years prior to the interview and their main reason for moving. The additional module will allow comparison with information from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, which reports the housing circumstances of Indigenous Australians.
In 2003-04 the SIH was conducted in conjunction with the HES. This approach will be used again for the 2009-10 and subsequent HES surveys. The HES surveys will continue to provide information on a range of housing cost outlays not collected in the SIH, including household repairs, maintenance, land tax and dwelling insurance.