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Housing costs jump, less home owners: ABS

By webmaster
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Over the past decade, average housing costs for households with a mortgage increased by $120 per week or 42 per cent, and less Australians owned their dwelling outright, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In its Housing Occupancy and Costs report, the ABS found that between 1999-2000 and 2009-10, average weekly housing costs for private renters increased by $78 per week or 34 per cent (CPI adjusted) and average weekly housing cost for owners without a mortgage increased by $5 per week or 17 per cent (CPI adjusted).

The ABS found there was a decrease in the proportion of households that owned their dwelling outright, from 42 per cent in 1994-95 to 33 per cent in 2009-10. The ABS said the decline in outright home ownership may, in part, reflect increasing uptake of flexible low-cost financing options which allow households to extend their existing home mortgages for purposes other than the original home purchase.

Between 1999-2000 and 2009-10, the proportion of households with a mortgage increased from 32 per cent to 36 per cent and the proportion of private renter households increased from 20 per cent to 24 per cent.

The report revealed that in 2009-10, households with a mortgage had the highest housing costs, averaging $408 per week or 18 per cent of their gross household income. About 33 per cent of this amount was repaying the principal outstanding on the loan.

Over the past decade the proportion of gross income that households with a mortgage spend on housing costs has been stable, at about 18 per cent.

Private renters spent an average of $305 per week on rent payments in 2009–10, or 20 per cent of their gross household income. The proportion that private renters spend on housing costs has also remained stable over the past decade, representing about 19 per cent of gross income.

The report also found that more than three quarters (79 per cent) of households occupied dwellings which had more bedrooms than were needed to accommodate the occupants.

Other key findings from the report included:

- a decrease in the average household size from 2.7 to 2.6 persons per household (the average dwelling size increased over this period from 2.9 to 3.1 bedrooms per dwelling);

- younger persons in a couple relationship were more likely to move into home ownership than younger single people, with 49 per cent of younger couple households owning their home with or without a mortgage;

- for couples with dependent children only and their eldest child under five years, 64 per cent owned their home with or without a mortgage;

- lone person and couple only households with the reference person aged under 35 years were most likely of all life cycle groups to be renting from private landlords (56 per cent and 48 per cent respectively).

- of the 1.07 million households that purchased their dwelling in the three years prior to the 2009-10 survey, 40 per cent were first home buyers, and the remainder changeover buyers.

- the median value of recently purchased dwellings was $370,000 for first home buyers and $450,000 for changeover buyers. Average housing costs, on the other hand, were higher for first home buyers than for changeover buyers, at $460 and $387 per week respectively. This is consistent with a higher proportion of first home buyers having a mortgage than for changeover buyers.

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