The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released information about rental costs as revealed through the last Census. This information shows the weekly costs of rent of family households and lone-person households against the weekly gross (i.e. before tax) household income. The information is derived from specific questions on the Census form that ask about housing cost, tenure type (renting, buying or owned) and the gross individual income of those present in the house in which they were counted.
Quality and Applicability
Rental costs data rely on respondents providing details of the weekly gross income of individual members of the household and the weekly cost of rent, with many electing not to provide one or both sets of information. Data compiled are therefore only broadly indicative of housing rental costs within a given area.
Households are considered to be in financial stress if they pay more than 30.0% of their gross income on housing costs and are in the lowest 40.0% of the income distribution range. Housing stress is strongly concentrated in the private rental segment especially amongst tenants who are permanent renters and who face barriers to affordable housing options. Information about rental costs is useful if you want to know the numbers of households likely to be experiencing financial stress in a given area – especially in areas with high proportions of renting households. Financial stress can also be experienced by non-renting households – most notably those with high housing loan repayments relative to gross household income.
Information about rental costs is available for local government areas, statistical local areas, suburbs, and collector districts.
Collector districts are the smallest spatial units under the Australian Standard Geographical Classification system used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Collector districts enable the collection and dissemination of Census data. Statistical local areas fit into the boundaries of incorporated bodies of local government (i.e. local government areas) when aggregated.
Information about rental costs refers to 8 August 2006, the most recent Census.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics progressively released all standard data sets based on the 2006 Census during 2007.
Information about rental costs is contained in the Expanded Community Profile Cat. No. 2005.0 2006 Tables X20 and X21. Select the ‘Community Profiles’ function to search for an area by name then open its Expanded Community Profile.
Cost and Format
Australian Bureau of Statistics data sets are downloadable free of charge in excel spreadsheet format.
Additional Data Source(s)
Information about rental costs is available through profile.id, an online product designed to support local government planning and accessible through council websites. Go to your council website, search for community profiles, and click on ‘How Do We Live/How Much Do We Pay on Our Housing Rental’ to generate reports based on the last Census. Reports are available for local government areas and smaller areas (e.g. suburbs). More on profile.id.
The Victorian Local Governance Association has an online library of social statistics that includes estimates of renting households likely to be experiencing financial stress because of gross household incomes of less than 30.0% of the Victorian median gross household income. Estimates are for the following household types: couples with children, couples without children, lone-parent, and lone-person. Estimates are based on figures from the last Census.
The Victorian Local Governance Association online library of social statistics also has information about the median rent paid for a range of dwellings (e.g. one-bedroom flat, two-bedroom house) in local government areas and suburbs. Figures are available for the most recent quarter and are based on data from the Office of Housing, Department of Human Services.
The Office of Housing, Department of Human Services, releases a quarterly rental report with estimates of rental affordability in local government areas. The calculations for rental affordability are based on the number of suitably sized private rental properties that cost within 30.0% of gross income for low income households – those receiving Centrelink benefits. The information contained in the reports shows the number of affordable properties and the percentage of rental properties this number represents in a given area.