Net imputed rent is estimated as gross imputed rent less housing costs. For owner-occupiers, the housing costs subtracted are those which would normally be paid by landlords i.e. general rates, water and sewerage rates, mortgage interest, building insurance, and repairs and maintenance. For households paying subsidised rent (e.g. tenants of an employer or of a state/territory housing authority) and households occupying their dwelling rent-free, the housing costs that are subtracted are largely made up of the reported rent paid, but also include other housing costs incurred, such as rates, which are also subtracted for some tenure types.
The availability of imputed rent estimates allows the analysis of household income to be extended to include the imputed rental incomes that flow to people living in homes owned by the occupant and those paying subsidised rent. Such imputations allow for more meaningful comparison of the income circumstances of people living in different tenure types, and to understand changes over time in income levels and the distribution of income when tenures may also be changing over time. Including imputed rent as part of household income and expenditure conceptually treats owner-occupiers as if they were renting their home from themselves, thus simultaneously incurring rental expenditure and earning rental income. Imputed rent is included in income on a net basis i.e. the imputed value of the services received less the value of the housing costs incurred by the household in their role as a landlord.
Additional data items are available for income measures which include imputed rent and exclude housing related social transfers in kind (STIK). These data items are useful for undertaking analysis where both imputed rent and STIK are included in the measure of income. These data items exclude the housing component of STIK in imputed rent for state/territory housing authority tenants to prevent double counting of housing STIK estimates.
The ABS implemented new methodologies for household level estimates of gross imputed rent in the 2015–16 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). These same methodologies were used in the 2017–18 SIH.
Base rental yields used in the estimation of gross imputed rent for individual owner-occupied dwellings have been updated in the 2017–18 SIH to include data from Census 2016 and CoreLogic RP Data from 2015–16 and 2016–17. Census medians used in the estimation of gross imputed rent for other tenure types have also been updated in the 2017–18 SIH to include data from Census 2016.
Further information on the imputed rent methodologies used in the SIH and method used to calculate and apply base rental yields can be found in Estimates of Imputed Rent, 2015–16.