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Housing: Census

Information on housing type and housing costs

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Key statistics

  • There were 10,852,208 private dwellings counted in the 2021 Census.
  • 70 per cent were separate houses, 13 per cent were townhouses and 16 per cent were apartments.
  • There were 1,043,776 unoccupied dwellings on Census Night.

    Housing tenure, 2021 Census

    Image of three different types of dwellings and information about tenure. 1: 31% owned outright. 2: 35% owned with a mortgage. 3: 30.6% rented.

    Housing tenure, 2021 Census

    This image shows three different types of dwellings and information about tenure in Australia. Of all the occupied private dwellings, 31 per cent are owned outright, 35 per cent are owned with a mortgage and 30.6 per cent are rented.

    Refers to occupied private dwellings and excludes visitor only and other non-classifiable households. Owned with a mortgage includes dwellings being purchased under a shared equity scheme. Rented excludes dwellings being occupied rent-free. Other tenure type and tenure type not stated represent remaining 3.4 per cent.

    Access Census data

    Housing data summary

    Tables in this download:

    1. Dwelling type by state and territory
    2. Dwelling location by dwelling structure
    3. Dwelling structure by tenure and landlord type
    4. Dwelling structure by number of bedrooms
    5. Dwelling structure by household composition
    6. Tenure type by total household income (weekly)
    7. Mortgage repayment (monthly) by dwelling structure
    8. Rent (weekly) by dwelling structure

    Housing data summary

    Other Census data cubes

    Please refer to other relevant Census data cubes:

    Snapshot of Australia
    • Dwelling type by state and territory of enumeration - 2016 and 2021
    • Dwelling structure by state and territory of enumeration - 2016 and 2021
    • Tenure type by state and territory of enumeration - 1996, 2016 and 2021

    Census data tools

    Search Census data provides a simple way to understand an area at a glance.

    • QuickStats provides a summary of an area including demographics and tables on key characteristics of the people living in the area, their families and their dwellings.
    • Community Profiles provide a comprehensive statistical picture of an area in an Excel spreadsheet, delivering data relating to people, families, and dwellings. 

    Data Explorer is an interactive web browser where you can view, query and download data.

    DataPacks contain comprehensive data about people, families and dwellings for all Census geographies ranging from Australia down to Statistical Area Level 1. 

    Other ABS surveys

    Explore other ABS data for building and construction.

    Key questions in 2021 Census

    This data is informed by responses to the following questions:

    • How many bedrooms are there in this dwelling? 
    • Is this dwelling: (Owned outright; Owned with a mortgage; Purchased under a shared equity scheme; Rented; Occupied rent free; Occupied under life tenure scheme; Other)?
    • Who is this dwelling being rented from? 

    • How much does your household pay for this dwelling?

    • What is the person’s residential status in this dwelling?

    More information: Census of Population and Housing: Census dictionary - Housing

    How Census data is used

    Learn how Census data helps community groups, businesses and governments make important decisions.

    Census data helps advocate for funding in Aboriginal community housing

    SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation in NSW provides housing and support for Aboriginal people, including helping older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘age in place’ in an appropriately modified home. It manages over 230 rental properties in townships from Nowra and down the coast to Wallaga Lake, and across to Queanbeyan, Yass, Young and Goulburn.

    This is often a lifeline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing poverty and entrenched disadvantage, as it provides access to affordable, culturally appropriate housing and pathways to other community services and supports.

    CEO Kim Sinclair said SEARMS relies extensively on Census data to help determine where community housing is needed for those who can’t access the private rental market. “Factors like unemployment, vulnerable households and mental health impact housing security,” Ms Sinclair said.

    “We use Census data to understand the prevalence of these factors to help us provide appropriate housing for Aboriginal people.” According to the 2016 Census, 4.8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are aged over 65. This increases to 5.4% in NSW and 6.2% in the Shoalhaven local government area.

    “The lifespan for Indigenous Australians is 15 years shorter than non-Indigenous Australians. This means aged care packages and modifications need to happen a good 10 to 20 years earlier.”

    “We are getting more requests for disability modifications to support people to stay at home and we don’t have the money for these modifications. Census data helps us compile a business case so we can seek funding for ageing-in-place housing.”

    Knowing the areas of critical need means SEARMS can better anticipate who needs housing help, and where.

    “We encourage all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to complete the Census because it bolsters our understanding of housing needs and priorities,” Ms Sinclair said.