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What the 2016 census reveals about property

28 June 2017 Sasha Karen

The latest snapshot from the 2016 census has been unveiled, revealing details of Australia’s overall property market, and how much we’re paying in rent and mortgages.

We take a look at how much has changed in the property landscape since the last census in 2011:

Dwelling count


Nationwide, there are 88.8 per cent of occupied private dwellings, down from 2011’s 89.3 per cent, while 11.2 per cent of dwellings are unoccupied, up from 10.7 per cent five years ago.

Dwelling structure

Separate houses and flats have decreased, at 72.9 per cent and 13.1 per cent respectively, compared to the previous figures of 75.6 per cent and 13.6 per cent respectively. Semi-detached, row, terrace and townhouses increased at 12.7 per cent from last census’ 9.9 per cent.

Number of bedrooms

Around Australia, one and four or more bedroom homes have seen a rise at 5 per cent and 32.2 per cent respectively, up from 4.7 per cent and 30.3 per cent respectively in 2001. Two- and three-bedroom homes have fallen at 18.9 per cent and 41.1 per cent respectively, down from 19.1 and 43.6 per cent respectively.


There is little change in tenure, with the percentage of Australians who own with a mortgage dropping at 24.5 per cent from 34.9 per cent. The percentage of renters increased to 30.9 per cent from 29.6 per cent. Owners who own outright saw the biggest change from 31 per cent, down from 32.1 per cent.

Weekly rate repayments

Weekly rent has become less affordable at a median rent of $335, up from $285. The percentage of Australians whose rent is less than 30 per cent of household income decreased to 88.5 per cent from 2011’s 89.6 per cent, while rent payments that are equal to or greater than 30 per cent increased to 11.5 per cent from 2011’s 10.4 per cent.

Monthly mortgage repayments

Unlike rent repayments, monthly mortgage repayments have become more affordable for Australians at a median of $1,755, down from $1,800.

Mortgage repayments that are less than 30 per cent of a household’s income increased to 92.8 per cent, up from 2011’s 90.1 per cent, and mortgage repayments that are equal to or greater than 30 per cent of a household’s income decreased to 7.2 per cent, down from 2011’s 9.9 per cent.

What the 2016 census reveals about property
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