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KEY FINDINGS

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.

Between 2013–14 and 2015–16, housing costs for:

  • owners with a mortgage remained stable in real terms at an average of $452 a week in 2015–16;
  • owners without a mortgage rose to $51 per week, a 6% increase in real terms; and
  • renters remained stable at $350 per week in 2015–16. For those households renting from a private landlord, there was no change in real terms, at $381 per week in 2015–16. Rents for those renting from state and territory government housing authorities increased by 10% in real terms, at $167 per week.

On average, households continued to spend 14% of their gross weekly income on housing costs in 2015–16. This has not changed since 2009–10. The proportion of gross weekly income that home owners with a mortgage spent on housing costs remained stable at 16% in 2015–16, after having fallen from 18% in 2013–14. Renters continued to spend 20% of their gross income on housing costs in 2015–16.

Home ownership levels remained stable from 2013–14 to 2015–16, with 67% of households owning their home, either with or without a mortgage. Of all households, 30% owned their home without a mortgage, while 37% of households had a mortgage secured against their dwelling.

The proportion of all households renting also remained stable at 30%. One quarter of all households rented privately, with 4% of all households renting from state and territory government housing authorities.

The average number of persons per household remained stable at 2.6 in 2015–16. The mean number of bedrooms per dwelling rose from 3.1 to 3.2 between 2013–14 and 2015–16.

The Canadian National Occupancy Standard is a widely used measure of housing utilisation. According to this Standard, around 4% of Australian households required at least one additional bedroom to meet the requirements of the household. In contrast around three quarters (78%) of all households had one or more bedrooms more than the household required.

Renters were less likely than home owners to occupy dwellings which had more bedrooms than required to accommodate the occupants according to the Standard, with around 60% of renters having surplus bedrooms. Around 85% of home owners had more bedrooms than required by the Standard.

In 2015–16, one in five households (20%) owned one or more residential properties other than their usual residence. Of those households that owned other residential property 72% owned a single property. Around one in twenty households (5%) who owned other property owned four or more properties.

This publication presents the main findings on housing occupancy and costs from the 2015–16 SIH. More detailed data is available in the data cubes, available from the ‘Downloads’ tab of this publication, and details about the survey are available in the Household Expenditure Survey and Survey of Income and Housing, User Guide, Australia, 2015-16 (cat. no. 6503.0).