Homes with mortgages double since 1996

More than a third of Australia's 9.8 million homes are owned with a mortgage, census data shows

Homes with mortgages double since 1996


By Mina Martin

Of Australia’s 9.8 million homes, just under a third are owned outright, while more than a third are owned with a mortgage, a 2021 census has found.

Findings also showed that while most Australians live in a family situation, nearly 900,000 live together in a group, while 2.5 million live alone. Data also revealed that a large majority of homes are detached, while 3.2 million dwellings have four bedrooms or more.

Launching the census results on Tuesday, Teresa Dickinson, the nation’s deputy statistician, said there has been no significant change in the number of homes owned either outright or with a mortgage since 1996, Australian Associated Press reported.

“However the share of homes which are owned with a mortgage, rather than outright, has been growing,” Dickinson said during a media conference in Canberra. “Over the last 25 years, the number of homes owned outright has increased by 10%, while the number owned with a mortgage has doubled.”

Of the 2.9 million homes that are owned outright, standalone properties number 2.4 million, while of the 3.3 million under a mortgage, 2.7 million are detached houses.

There are 2.8 million rental households, which, according to tenant advocacy group Better Renting, is 280,000 more than recorded in the 2016 census.

Joel Dignam, Better Renting executive director, noted, however, a concerning decrease of more than 25,000 in public housing.

“These figures show that governments aren’t even providing enough public housing to keep up with population growth, let alone an increase in public housing to meet the urgent need for people who are currently couch-surfing, sleeping in their cars, or skipping meals to pay the rent,” Dignam told AAP.

Some 23.5 million Australians reside in a private dwelling, 20.1 million of which are in a family household, 871,349 live together as a group, and 2.5 million live alone.

Of the 6.2 million people who live in a home that is owned outright, 875,176 receive a weekly income of $4,000 or more, while of the 9.8 million paying off a mortgage, 2.4 million are in the same wage bracket.

Some seven million people rent in Australia, of whom 926,918 have a weekly salary of $2,000 up to $2,999, while 712,288 have a weekly income of $4,000 or more.

The census data also revealed that 104,996 renters who have no income at all.

Some 30,053 people are purchasing a house under a shared-equity scheme, with the largest proportion of this, 2,588 people, have a weekly salary of $650 to $799, AAP reported.


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