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.
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 and 2019–20 SIH.
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.