4182.0 - Australian Housing Survey -- Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions, 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/10/2000   
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October 31, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

The great Australian dream - a reality for most Australian households : ABS

In 1999, seven out of 10 Australian households either owned outright or were paying off their homes, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. This equates to almost 5.1 million of Australia's 7.2 million households.

Between 1994 and 1999 there was no change in the overall proportion of owner and renter households, with the proportion of owner-occupiers remaining stable at 70 per cent.

Young people under 35 and living on their own were more likely to be renting (62 per cent). Only 32 per cent of this group owned their own home (some with a mortgage and some without), compared to 52 per cent of young couples without children. An even higher proportion (77 per cent) of couples with dependent children owned their home. However, one parent households with dependent children were more likely to be renting (58 per cent) than to own their home (40 per cent).

Households that owned their home were far more likely to live in a separate dwelling (90 per cent) than renters (53 per cent). Singles were more likely to live in townhouses or flats, while childless young couples, couples with children, one parent households and older households were more likely to live in separate houses.

The majority (57 per cent) of Australian homes were reported to be 20 or more years old. Tasmania had marginally the highest proportion of homes built 50 or more years ago (23 per cent), while the Northern Territory had the highest proportion of dwellings less than 5 years old (13 per cent).

In 1999, one out of every five Australian households spent more than 25 per cent of their income on housing, but this proportion varied considerably across different tenures. For example, 39 per cent of households renting privately spent more than a quarter of their income on housing, compared to only 6 per cent of owners without a mortgage.

Across capital cities, the average weekly housing cost was $135. Housing costs were highest in Sydney with an average of $164 per week, while Adelaide had the lowest average weekly housing costs at $96.

When analysed by life-cycle groups, childless young couple households, followed by couples with all children under five years, had the highest average weekly housing costs ($217 and $198 respectively). However, young single households and one parent households with dependent children spent the highest proportion of their income on housing (each 21 per cent).

Further details are in Australian Housing Survey: Housing Characteristics, Costs and Conditions (cat. no. 4182.0), available from ABS bookshops in all capital cities. The summary of the publication may be found on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication, contact the ABS Bookshop in your capital city.