4130.0.55.001 - Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia, 2000-01  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/04/2004   
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For many people, the cost of providing shelter for themselves and their families is one of the largest expenditures that they will make. The recurrent aspects of housing costs reported in this publication, which cover the housing-related mortgage and rates payments of owner households, and the rent payments of renter households, are also often the largest expenditure items to be met from households' current incomes.

The data presented in this publication are compiled from the Survey of Income and Housing Costs (SIHC), with information for the years 1995-96 to 2000-01, excluding 1998-99 when SIHC was not run due to the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) being in the field for that year. However, more extensive and more detailed housing costs information, including the split between the interest and capital components of mortgage repayments, are available six-yearly from the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) - see Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Detailed Expenditure Items (cat.no.6535.0) for the information available from the 1998-99 survey. Results from the 2003-04 HIES are expected to be released in mid 2005.


Changes since 1995-96

In 2000-01 there were approximately 18.9 million people or 7.3 million households living in private dwellings, up 6% on the number of people in private dwellings in 1995-96. There was a larger increase in the number of households over this period (up 10%), and a consequent decrease in the average household size from 2.68 to 2.58 persons per household. The dwelling size remained the same at 3.0 bedrooms per dwelling. The proportion of separate houses decreased from 80% to 78%, while the proportion of dwellings that were either semi-detached houses or town houses rose (from 8% to 10%).

Over this period there was a decrease in the proportion of households who owned their dwelling outright from 43% in 1995-96 to 38% in 2000-01. There were increases in the proportion of households that had a mortgage on their homes (from 28% to 32%) and in the proportion of households who were renting privately (from 19% to 21%).

HOUSING TENURE 1995-96 AND 2000-01
Graph - Housing tenure 1995-96 and 2000-01

Life cycle stages

The proportion of households who own their home outright increases as the age of the reference person increases. Younger single persons (under 35) and younger couples (reference person aged under 35) without children are least likely to own their home outright (7%), whilst couples with the reference person aged 65 and over were the most likely to own their home outright (89%) (Table 15). Younger single people were most likely to be renting privately (59%) and also had the highest proportion of any group in flats and apartments (47%) and in semi-detached or town houses (19%). Younger persons in a couple relationship are more likely to move into home ownership than younger single people, with 58% of younger couple households owning their home with or without a mortgage. When couples have children they are more likely than couple only households to own a home. For couples with their eldest child under 5, 68% own their home with or without a mortgage, rising to 79% for couples with their eldest child aged 5 to 14, and 90% for couples with dependent children only and the eldest aged 15 to 24.

Graph - Housing tenure by life cycle


The composition of housing costs differ depending on type of tenure. In this publication, housing costs of owners comprise rates, both general and water, and mortgage repayments if the mortgage was initially taken out primarily to purchase, build or alter the dwelling. Owners that have a mortgage where the purpose of the mortgage when initially taken out was not primarily housing related, are categorised as owners with a mortgage, but their mortgage repayments are not included in their housing costs. In 2000-01, 9% of owners with a mortgage did not have a housing related mortgage. For renters housing costs comprise the amount of rent paid.

The mean (average) weekly housing costs for all households was $121. There is, however, considerable variation in housing costs with half of all households paying $75 or less per week. For owners without a mortgage the average weekly housing costs were $23, which represented 3% of average gross weekly income for those households. Owners with a mortgage paid an average of $220 on housing costs, which represented 17% of their average gross income per week. Households renting from private landlords paid an average of $173 per week, representing 20% of their average gross income. Households renting from state and territory housing authorities paid an average of $73 per week, representing 18% of their average gross income.

Changes since 1995-96

In real (CPI adjusted) terms average weekly housing costs across all households increased by 9% from $111 in 1995-96 to $121 in 2000-01. For owners without a mortgage, real average weekly housing costs in 2000-01 were $23, unchanged from 1995-96. This means that the real average cost of rates for these owners did not rise. For owners with a mortgage, real average weekly housing costs fell from $227 to $220, in part reflecting the substantial falls in housing loan interest rates over the period. For private renters, real average weekly housing costs rose by 4% from $166 to $173.

Graph - Real housing costs by tenure type 1995-96 and 2000-01

Housing stress

People are often defined as having housing stress if they have both relatively high housing costs and their income falls in the bottom 40% of the income distribution. In this publication the housing stress measure includes those with incomes between the bottom 10% and bottom 40% of the distribution of equivalised disposable household income. The incomes of many of the people falling into the lowest decile are not an appropriate indicator of the economic resources available to them (see paragraph 24 of the Explanatory Notes for details) and it is likely that many of them would inappropriately be regarded as in housing stress, were they to be included. Relatively high housing costs are those above 30% of gross household income (non-equivalised). Many higher income households pay more than 30% of their income on housing. However, they are excluded from the housing stress group because they often have more discretion to reduce their housing costs by lowering their mortgage repayments or moving to a cheaper dwelling. Using this definition of relatively high costs for people falling in the selected income range, 6% of people in private dwellings were in housing stress in 2000-01, with half of these people in rented dwellings. These proportions have changed very little since 1995-96.

PEOPLE IN HOUSING STRESS(a), 1995-96 TO 2000-01
Graph - People in housing stress 1995-96 to 2000-01


In the SIHC owners were asked to estimate the value of their dwelling. The estimate they provided may differ from valuations made by accredited valuers or the actual sale price of the dwelling. The extent of the difference has not been measured and therefore some care needs to be taken when using these data.

In 2000-01 the median value of the 5.1 million owner occupied dwellings was $180,000 (table 18). Couples with older children (over 15) generally reported higher values than other life cycle groups. The dwelling value and the number of bedrooms were highest for couple families with both dependent and non-dependent children present. The median value of dwellings for this group was $230,000. On average these dwellings contained 4.0 bedrooms and housed an average of 4.8 people. The life cycle group that reported the lowest median value of dwellings was the older lone person group. The median value for this group was $140,000 and on average the dwellings contained 2.6 bedrooms.

The median value of dwellings for capital cities was $200,000 (table 21). The median value was highest in Sydney at $320,000, followed by Melbourne and Darwin both at $200,000.


Almost 1.1 million households purchased their dwelling in the 3 years before the survey. These households are divided into first home buyers (38%) and changeover buyers (62%) (table 26). The majority of recent home buyers bought an established house (80% of first home buyers and 78% of changeover buyers).

The median value of recently purchased dwellings was $155,000 for first home buyers and $200,000 for changeover buyers (table 25). Housing costs, on the other hand, were higher for first home buyers than for changeover buyers, at $236 and $197 per week respectively (table 23). This is consistent with the fact that a higher proportion of first home buyers have a mortgage (87%) than changeover buyers who have a mortgage (65%). New dwellings had both a higher median value ($220,000) than recently purchased established dwellings ($170,000) and higher housing costs, with average weekly housing costs of $227 for new dwellings and $208 for established dwellings.




The following is a list of tables available in the linked data cube.

ALL HOUSEHOLDS, 1995-96 TO 2000-01
1Housing costs by selected household characteristics
2Housing costs as a proportion of gross income by selected characteristics
3Selected household characteristics
4Housing costs by selected household characteristics and tenure type
5Housing costs ranges by tenure type
6Housing costs by tenure type and household composition
7Selected characteristics by household composition
8Housing costs by tenure type and age of reference person
9Selected characteristics by age of reference
10Housing costs by tenure type and equivalised disposable income quintiles
11Selected characteristics by equivalised disposable income quintiles
12Housing costs by tenure type and principal source of household income
13Selected characteristics by principal source of household income
14Housing costs by tenure type
15Selected characteristics
Households in bottom 10% to 40% of distribution
16 Housing costs by tenure type
17Selected characteristics
Owner households
18Value of dwelling and equity in dwelling
19Housing costs by tenure type
20Selected characteristics
Owner households
21Value of dwelling by selected characteristics
22Value of dwelling and equity
23Housing costs by selected characteristics
24Housing costs as a proportion of gross income by selected characteristics
25Median value of dwelling by selected characteristics
26Selected characteristics