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Housing Occupancy and Costs

The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects data from households to measure levels of housing occupancy and costs and how these change over time

Reference period
2019-20 financial year

Key statistics

In 2019–20

  • 66% of Australian households owned their own home with or without a mortgage.
  • 31% of households rented their home.
  • Average weekly housing costs were: $493 for owners with a mortgage; $54 for owners without a mortgage; and $379 for renters.

Main features

Summary

The Survey of Income and Housing (SIH) collects data from households across Australia to measure levels of housing occupancy and costs and how these change over time.

In 2019–20:

  • Two thirds (66%) of Australian households owned their own home with or without a mortgage. This was consistent with ownership in 2017–18 (66%). 
  • Almost one third (31%) of Australian households rented their home in 2019–20, a decrease from 32% in 2017–18. 
  • Average weekly housing costs decreased to $493 for owners with a mortgage (down $5 per week from $498 in 2017–18 inflation adjusted) and no change was observed for owners without a mortgage ($54). Housing costs for renters increased by $2 between 2019–20 ($379) and 2017–18 ($377 inflation adjusted). 
  • Household spending of their gross weekly income on housing costs decreased from 13.9% (2017–18) to 13.6% in 2019–20. While owners with a mortgage spent 16% and renters spent 20% of their income on housing costs. This was consistent with the amount spent on mortgage and rent in 2017–18.  
  • The average number of persons per household remained stable at 2.6, and the average number of bedrooms per dwelling decreased from 3.2 to 3.1.
  • Applying the Canadian National Occupancy Standard for housing utilisation, almost one in twenty-five (4%) Australian households required at least one additional bedroom to meet the requirements of the household, while more than three quarters (77%) of households had at least one bedroom spare.
  • One in five households (21%) owned one or more residential properties other than their usual residence. Of those that owned another residential property, almost three quarters (68%) owned a single property, while one in twenty-five (4%) owned four or more properties.
  • There was a 6% increase in recent first home buyers where the main reference person for the household was aged under 35 (61%), compared to 2017–18 (55%). 

 
This publication presents the main findings on housing occupancy and costs from the 2019–20 SIH. More detailed data are available in the data cubes, available from the Data downloads section of this publication, and details about the survey are available in the Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia (cat. no. 6553.0).

Housing tenure

Almost one third (31%) of Australian households rented their home in 2019–20, a decrease from 32% in 2017–18. Around two thirds (66%) of Australian households owned their own home with or without a mortgage, unchanged from 2017–18.

Owners

In the past two decades, from 1999–00 to 2019–20, the percentage of Australian households that own their own home: 

  • With or without a mortgage decreased from 71% to 66%.
  • Without a mortgage decreased from 39% to 30%.
  • With a mortgage increased from 32% to 37%.

Renters

Between 1999–00 and 2019–20, the percentage of Australian households that rent their home from:

  • All landlord types increased from 27% to 31%.
  • A private landlord increased from 20% to 26%.
  • A state or territory housing authority decreased from 6% to 3%.
  1. Survey of Income and Housing data was collected in labelled years

Source: Survey of Income and Housing

More detail about housing tenure can be found in the data cubes available to download from the Data downloads section of this publication.

Housing costs

In this publication, housing costs are defined as the sum of rent payments; rate payments (water and general); and mortgage or unsecured loan payments (if the initial purpose of the loan was primarily to buy, add, or alter the dwelling). The complexities in measuring different types of housing costs mean that care should be taken when comparing housing costs and affordability ratios across tenure types.


In 2019–20, the average weekly housing costs for all Australian households were $317, but varies significantly for different tenure types. The individual average costs by tenure type were:

  • $54 for owners without a mortgage.
  • $493 for owners with a mortgage. 
  • $379 for renters.

 
In the past two decades, from 1999–00 to 2019–20, housing costs (adjusted for inflation) for major tenure and landlord types have increased by:

  • 50% for home owners without a mortgage.
  • 40% for home owners with a mortgage.
  • 27% for state or territory housing tenants.
  • 50% for private renters. 
  1. Adjusted for changes in the Consumer Price Index to 2019–20 dollars
  2. Survey of Income and Housing data was collected in labelled years

Source: Survey of Income and Housing

Housing costs vary across states within Australia. In 2019–20, average weekly housing costs for households in each state and territory were:

  • Northern Territory ($381).
  • Australian Capital Territory ($363).
  • New South Wales ($356).
  • Victoria ($319).
  • Queensland ($300).
  • Western Australia ($293).
  • South Australia ($251).
  • Tasmania ($218).

More detail about housing costs can be found in the data cubes available to download from the Data downloads section of this publication.

Housing affordability

One measure of housing affordability is a ratio of housing costs to gross household income, also known as a housing affordability ratio. The complexities in measuring different types of housing costs mean that care should be taken when comparing housing costs and affordability ratios across tenure types.

In 2019–20, this housing affordability ratio for major household tenure types was:

  • 3.0% for owners without a mortgage.
  • 15.5% for owners with a mortgage.
  • 19.5% for renters from a state or territory housing authority.
  • 20.2% for renters from a private landlord.
  1. Survey of Income and Housing data was collected in labelled years

Source: Survey of Income and Housing

Lower income households

Lower income households in this publication are those containing the 38% of persons between the 3rd and 40th percentiles of equivalised disposable household income.

In 2019–20, average housing costs and housing affordability ratios for lower income households by tenure type were:

  • $207 per week (21% of gross weekly income) for all lower income households, compared to $317 per week (14% of gross weekly income) for all households.
  • $376 per week (27% of gross weekly income) for lower income home owner households with a mortgage.
  • $353 per week (32% of gross weekly income) for lower income households renting from a private landlord.
     

The proportion of lower income households spending more than 30% of their gross weekly income on housing costs was:

  • More than half (58%) of those renting from a private landlord (similar to 57% in 2017–18).
  • Around 37% of owners with a mortgage (down from 41% in 2017–18).
  • One in four (25%) for all dwelling owners in the Northern Territory, which is the highest across states and territories.
  • More than half (51%) for all renters in New South Wales, which is the highest across states and territories.
  1. Includes other landlord type

Source: Survey of Income and Housing

Other characteristics for lower income household groups that spend more than 30% of their gross weekly income on housing included: 

  • Around 42% of one parent families with dependent children (down from 45% in 2017–18).
  • 30% of couple families with dependent children (down from 35% in 2017–18).
  • Over a quarter (26%) of lone person households (down from 29% in 2017–18).
  • Around half of households with younger reference persons aged 15–24 (55%) (no change from 2017–18) and 25–34 (43%) (down from 47% in 2017–18).
  • Progressively fewer households with older reference persons aged 45–54 (34%) (up from 31% in 2017–18), 55–64 (25%) (no change from 2017–18), 65–74 (13%) (slightly down from 14% in 2017–18) or 75 and over (9%) (slightly up from 8% in 2017–18).


More detail about housing affordability can be found in the data cubes available to download from the Data downloads section of this product.

Another measure of housing affordability for lower income renter households can be found in data cube 13. That measure, informing one of the performance indicators in the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, defines lower income households as those households containing the 40% of people at or below the 40th percentile of equivalised disposable household income (excluding Rent Assistance) calculated at the total Australia households level. More information on this is available within the Methodology section of this publication.  

Ownership of other residential property

About one in five (21%) Australian households owned a residential property other than their usual residence in 2019–20. These properties include those that are being rented out as residential investment properties and those used for other purposes, such as holiday homes.

Of the 2.02 million households who, in 2019–20, owned a residential property other than their usual residence:

  • 68% owned a single property.
  • One in twenty-five (4%) owned four or more properties.
  • Owners were most likely to reside in either New South Wales (33%) or Victoria (29%).
  • 36% were in the highest quintile of equivalised disposable household income.
  • Over one in ten (13%) households were in the lowest quintile of equivalised disposable household income.

For more data regarding ownership of other residential property see data cube 10, available to download from the Data downloads section of this publication.

Housing utilisation

In this publication, the measure of housing utilisation is based on the criteria of the Canadian National Occupancy Standard (CNOS), which determines the number of bedrooms required to adequately accommodate a dwelling's occupants.

In 2019–20:

  • There was an average of 2.6 persons per household and 3.1 bedrooms per dwelling.
  • One in twenty-five (4%) of households were in need of at least one more bedroom.
  • More than three quarters (77%) of households had at least one bedroom spare.
     

Over the last twenty years:

  • The mean number of persons per household has remained relatively stable at 2.6 from 1999–00 to 2019–20.
  • The number of bedrooms per dwelling has increased from 3.0 in 1999–00 to 3.1 in 2019–20.
  1. Survey of Income and Housing data was collected in labelled years

Source: Survey of Income and Housing
 

For more data regarding housing utilisation see data cube 7, available to download from the Data downloads section of this product.

For more information on CNOS see the Methodology of this publication.

Recent home buyers

Recent home buyers are defined as those households who purchased a dwelling in the three years prior to the date their survey was completed. This enables analysis of two groups of recent purchasers – those who purchased their first home (first home buyers) and those who previously owned a home (changeover buyers). While not intended to provide a measure of the prevalence of first home buyers, the survey allows for comparative analysis of demographic and housing cost factors associated with these two groups.

In 2019–20 there were approximately 1,115,000 recent home buyers. Of these:

  • More than a third (38%) were first home buyers.
  • Almost two thirds (62%) had previously owned a home (changeover buyers).
     

Of the approximately 420,100 first home buyers:

  • Most (92%) owned their home with a mortgage.
  • More than half (61%) were in a household where the main reference person for the household was aged under 35 years.
  • Over two thirds (69%) were either couple families with dependent children (41%) or couple only families (28%). 
  • Approximately one in six (17%) of the recent dwellings bought were new.

 

Source: Survey of Income and Housing

When comparing first home buyers to recent home buyers who had previously owned their own home (changeover buyers):

  • Changeover buyers were less likely to purchase a flat or apartment than first home buyers (12% compared with 16%).
  • Median housing costs for first home buyers with a mortgage were comparable to those for recent changeover buyers ($505 per week compared with $529).
  • Almost one in three first home buyers (32%) spent more than 25% of their gross household income on housing costs; compared to 23% for changeover buyers.
  • The mean value of dwellings for first home buyers was $582,100 compared to $772,700 for recent changeover buyers.

For more data on recent home buyers see data cube 9, available to download from the Data downloads section of this publication.

States and territories

Key statistics for housing tenure and housing costs by state and territory in 2019–20 are presented below.

Detailed statistics for each Greater Capital City Statistical Area and state or territory can be found in data cubes 11 and 12, available to download from the Data downloads section of this publication.

New South Wales

Tenure:

  • 64% of NSW households owned their own home (34% owned with a mortgage, 30% owned without).
  • 33% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $51 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $574 per week, or 17% of gross weekly household income (up $50 from 2017–18).
  • Renters paid $432 per week, or 22% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in NSW was $302,000.

Detailed time series data for NSW from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Victoria

Tenure:

  • 68% of Victorian households owned their own home (37% owned with a mortgage, 31% owned without).
  • 29% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $57 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $501 per week, or 16% of gross weekly household income.
  • Renters paid $388 per week, or 19% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in Victoria was $285,000.

Detailed time series data for Victoria from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Queensland

Tenure:

  • 64% of Queensland households owned their own home (36% owned with a mortgage, 28% owned without).
  • 35% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $53 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $447 per week, or 15% of gross weekly household income (down from 17% in 2017–18).
  • Renters paid $355 per week, or 21% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in Queensland was $261,000 (an increase from $258,000 in 2017–18).

Detailed time series data for Queensland from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

South Australia

Tenure:

  • 69% of South Australian households owned their own home (39% owned with a mortgage, 30% owned without).
  • 28% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $57 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $390 per week, or 14% of gross weekly household income (down from 15% in 2017–18).
  • Renters paid $282 per week, or 18% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in South Australia was $216,000.

Detailed time series data for SA from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Western Australia

Tenure:

  • 69.3% of Western Australian households owned their own home (42.7% owned with a mortgage, 26.6% owned without).
  • 28% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $53 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $443 per week, or 14% of gross weekly household income.
  • Renters paid $314 per week, or 17% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in Western Australia was $280,000 (a decrease from $324,000 in 2017–18).

Detailed time series data for WA from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Tasmania

Tenure:

  • 68% of Tasmanian households owned their own home (35% owned with a mortgage, 33% owned without).
  • 29% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $45 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $346 per week, or 15% of gross weekly household income.
  • Renters paid $281 per week, or 22% of gross weekly household income (up $26 from 2017–18).

The median mortgage outstanding in Tasmania was $177,000.

Detailed time series data for Tasmania from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Northern Territory

Tenure:

  • 59% of NT households owned their own home (43% owned with a mortgage, 16% owned without).
  • 40% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $53 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $534 per week, or 16% of gross weekly household income.
  • Renters paid $367 per week, or 18% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in Northern Territory was $321,000.

Detailed time series data for NT from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Australian Capital Territory

Tenure:

  • 69% of ACT households owned their own home, up from 64% in 2017–18 (42% owned with a mortgage, 27% owned without).
  • 28% were renting, down from 34% in 2017–18.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $74 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $546 per week, or 16% of gross weekly household income.
  • Renters paid $393 per week, or 17% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in ACT was $347,000.

Detailed time series data for ACT from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 12 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Australia

Tenure:

  • 66% of Australian households owned their own home (37% owned with a mortgage, 29% owned without).
  • 31% were renting.

Housing Costs:

  • Owners without a mortgage paid $54 a week on average.
  • Owners with a mortgage paid $493 per week, or 16% of gross weekly household income.
  • Renters paid $379 per week, or 20% of gross weekly household income.

The median mortgage outstanding in Australia was $275,000.

Detailed time series data for Australia from 1994–95 to 2019–20 are available in data cube 1 of the Data downloads section of this publication.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4130.0
 

Data downloads

Data files