1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Housing satisfies the essential needs of people for shelter, security and privacy. Shelter is recognised throughout the world as a basic human right. The adequacy or otherwise of housing is an important component of individual wellbeing. Housing also has great significance in the national economy, through its relationships with investment levels, interest rates, building activity and employment.

In the 1920s, the Australian Government started providing financial assistance for home ownership to moderate and low income earners. Governments have continued to actively promote home ownership as part of an overall policy directed at achieving people's self-reliance in housing and a quality of housing adequate for their needs. Australia currently has one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world. Governments also provide assistance to low income households to rent suitable and affordable housing.

The predominance of separate, free-standing houses situated on 'quarter-acre blocks' has historically been a feature of Australian urban development. More recently, governments have moved to promote higher housing density in order to provide greater choice of housing types and to make better use of existing infrastructure.

This chapter provides information on the types of dwellings Australians live in, their tenure type and housing costs. It also looks at a range of factors associated with buying a home, including home loans, house prices and the characteristics of recent home-buyer households. It includes comparisons between states and territories and between households at different life cycle stages. Most of the statistics are from the 2009–10 Survey of Income and Housing, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Information on construction of residential dwellings can be found in chapter 21 CONSTRUCTION.

This chapter contains the special article Co-operative housing in Victoria.

Other related information can be found in chapters 9 INCOME AND WELFARE and 29 PRICES.


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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.