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1380.0.55.013 - Perspectives on Regional Australia: Housing Arrangements - Rental Rates in Local Government Areas, 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/04/2014  First Issue
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Introduction
Renting in Australia
Renting in the states and territories
Renting in local government areas
Median rental payments: state and territory maps by LGA
Conclusion
Endnotes

INTRODUCTION

Home rental costs, according to data collected in the Census of Population and Housing, have shown large increases from 2006 to 2011 in Australia. The median weekly household rent rose to $285 from $191 in 2006, an increase of 49.2%. Overall, rental costs have increased twice as much as wages; the median weekly household income increased from $1,027 in 2006 to $1,234 in 2011, up 20.2%.

Understanding the proportion of households in a region that rent (home rental rate), the type of landlord they rent from, and the changing cost of renting, provides important information for governments, businesses and the community. This information can affect decisions about land use and housing development, as well as the provision of social services, such as public housing. Across Australia, some regions have reported shortages of public housing, rental housing, and accommodation for seasonal workers (Endnote 1).

Some households choose to rent in order to move around for employment, educational or other opportunities, or because it is a smaller financial commitment to do so. Other households rent because purchasing a home with the space, facilities or location they require, may not be affordable. A strong rental sector is important to an increasingly mobile modern economy (Endnote 2).

The Census provides a snapshot in time of housing tenure and housing rent payments in Australia. This article uses Census data to explore how home rental rates across Australia, in the states and territories, and in Local Government Areas (LGAs) have changed between 2006 and 2011. It also looks at how the costs of renting a home vary across Australia, and how these costs changed between 2006 and 2011. In this article renters refers to households who indicated their tenure as either renter or rent-free in the Census. The home rental rate is defined as the number of occupied private dwellings which were rented or being occupied rent-free by a member of the household, expressed as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings.

This article is the third in a series on housing. The first two articles were Perspectives on Regional Australia, Housing Arrangements - Home Ownership in Local Government Areas, 2011 (cat. no. 1380.0.55.010) and Perspectives on Regional Australia, Housing Arrangements - Homes Owned with a Mortgage in Local Government Areas, 2011 (cat. no. 1380.0.55.012).

Regional data used in this article are provided in the datacube available via the Downloads tab.


RENTING IN AUSTRALIA

Nearly three in ten Australian households (29.6%) rented their dwelling at the time of the 2011 Census. There was a larger increase in rented homes between 2006 and 2011 compared with homes owned with a mortgage. The proportion of rented homes increased almost two percentage points (from 28.1% in 2006), whereas homes owned with a mortgage increased by less than one percentage point (from 34.1% in 2006 to 34.9% in 2011), and the proportion of households that owned their dwelling outright decreased (from 34.0% in 2006 to 32.1% in 2011).



PROPORTION OF DWELLINGS(a), by Selected Tenure Type, 2006 and 2011
Graph: Proportion of dwellings by selected tenure type, 2006 and 2011
(a) Total occupied private dwellings, excluding 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011


Rental costs increased by about ten percentage points more than mortgage repayments. The median monthly mortgage repayment in Australia rose from $1,300 in 2006 to $1,800 in 2011, an increase of 38.5 per cent, while the median weekly rent payment increased by 49.2 per cent.

For other national housing statistics, see Housing Occupancy and Costs, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4130.0).

Median rental payments by landlord type

Census data breaks down renters by landlord type. This includes those that rent in the private rental market from real estate agents or persons not in the same households and those who rent from state or territory housing authorities. Median rental payments will be affected by households who are living rent free (3.6% of all rented dwellings) and households who rent through state or territory housing authorities (13.7% of all rented dwellings). Most renter households (54.3%) had a real estate agent as their landlord and these households had the highest median rent ($335 per week).


MEDIAN WEEKLY RENT(a), By landlord type, Australia, 2011

Landlord type
Rented dwellings
(no.)
Proportion of total rented dwellings
(%)
Median rent
($/week)

Real estate agent
1 247 850
54.3
335
State or territory housing authority
341 691
13.7
110
Persons not in the same household(b)
520 913
22.7
260
Housing co-operative/community/church group
51 374
2.2
132
Other landlord type(c)
112 348
4.9
180
Not stated
50 282
2.2
-
Total
2 297 458
100.0
285

(a) Applicable to occupied private dwellings which were rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
(b) Comprises dwellings being rented from a parent/other relative or other person.
(c) Comprises dwellings being rented through a 'Residential park (includes caravan parks and marinas)', 'Employer - Government (includes Defence Housing Authority)' and 'Employer - other employer'.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


RENTING IN THE STATES AND TERRITORIES

In 2011, the Northern Territory recorded the highest home rental rate of all states and territories, with nearly half of all homes being rented (49.1%). Tasmania and Victoria had the lowest home rental rates of 26.4% and 26.5% respectively. Home rental rates increased in all states and territories between 2006 and 2011. Queensland had the largest increase from 31.1% in 2006 to 33.2% in 2011, followed by Western Australia from 27.2% in 2006 to 29.2% in 2011. New South Wales had the smallest increase from 29.5% in 2006 to 30.1% in 2011.


HOME RENTAL RATES(a), by State and Territory, 2006 and 2011
Graph: Home rental rates, by state and territory, 2006 and 2011
(a) The home rental rate is the number of occupied private dwellings which were rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household, as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011


The following table presents median rental payments for 2006 and 2011 for each state and territory in Australia. Western Australia reported the biggest increase of median weekly rent (in both dollar terms and per cent), increasing to $300 in 2011 from $170 in 2006, an increase of 76.5%. The Australian Capital Territory reported the highest median weekly rental payment in 2011 of $380.


MEDIAN WEEKLY RENTAL PAYMENTS(a), by State and Territory, 2006 and 2011

State/Territory
Median Rent Payment
Change

2006
($/week)
2011
($/week)
($)
(%)

New South Wales
210
300
90
42.9
Victoria
185
277
92
49.7
Queensland
200
300
100
50.0
South Australia
150
220
70
46.7
Western Australia
170
300
130
76.5
Tasmania
135
200
65
48.1
Northern Territory
140
225
85
60.7
Australian Capital Territory
260
380
120
46.2
Australia(b)
191
285
94
49.2

(a) Applicable to occupied private dwellings being rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
(b) Includes Other Territories.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011


RENTING IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS

High rental rates

A high proportion of rented homes in a local government area reflects supply and demand factors within the region and can be associated with a highly mobile population (for example, one with a large transient workforce). It can also be associated with complex land tenure arrangements such as those in some remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

In 2011, home rental rates varied considerably in LGAs as shown in the following map. The LGAs with the highest home rental rates were mostly located in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, far north and western Queensland, as well as some inner city areas. The inner city LGAs of Melbourne and Perth reported home rental rates over 60% (62.7% and 62.3% respectively), while Sydney and Adelaide reported rates around 60% (59.8% and 59.4% respectively).


HOME RENTAL RATES(a), By Local Government Area, Australia - 2011
Map: home rental rates, by local government area, Australia, 2011
(a) The home rental rate is the number of occupied private dwellings which were rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household, as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.


In the ten LGAs with the highest home rental rates, over 80% of dwellings were rented in 2011. This was considerably higher than the overall rental rate of 29.6% for Australia. Northern Peninsula Area, in Queensland, recorded the highest proportion of rented dwellings, with 94.1%.


HOME RENTAL RATES(a), Ten Highest Local Government Areas(b), 2011

Local Government AreaState/Territory
Home rental rate
(%)
Total occupied private dwellings
(no.)

Northern Peninsula AreaQld.
94.1
562
East ArnhemNT
93.4
1 204
West ArnhemNT
92.1
1 027
Tiwi IslandsNT
91.4
558
Torres Strait IslandQld.
90.8
943
Central DesertNT
86.6
665
Halls CreekWA
84.0
729
Victoria-DalyNT
83.9
1 171
AshburtonWA
83.9
1 937
MacDonnellNT
83.3
1 007

(a) The home rental rate is the number of occupied private dwellings which were rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household, as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
(b) LGAs with a total occupied private dwelling count under 500 dwellings are excluded from this table.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


Of the ten LGAs with the highest home rental rates in Australia in 2011, six were in the Northern Territory, and two in both Western Australia and Queensland. For eight of these LGAs, the majority of households in rented homes reported their landlord as the state or territory housing authority. The main landlord type for the LGA of Northern Peninsula Area was 'housing co-operative, community or church group', while the main landlord type for Ashburton was 'employer - other employer'.

With the exception of Ashburton in Western Australia, all the LGAs with the highest home rental rates had no households which reported renting through a real estate agent. Ashburton had about 50 dwellings (or 3% of all rented dwellings) rented from a real estate agent. The median rent reported for Ashburton in 2011 was $30 per week.

Biggest rental rate increases

Of the ten LGAs with the biggest growth in home rental rates between 2006 and 2011, eight were located in Western Australia, and one in both Queensland and South Australia. These LGAs are characterised by tourism and mining industries, and the growth is likely to be due to the increasing demand for properties to accommodate the mining and construction workers in these LGAs.

East Pilbara, in far north Western Australia, had the biggest growth in home rental rates, which increased by 17.2 percentage points from 59.2% in 2006 to 76.4% in 2011. East Pilbara is characterised by its remoteness and high proportion of workers in the mining industry in 2011. The main industry of employment for people counted in rented dwellings was Metal Ore Mining (32.1% of employed usually resident renters), followed by Preschool and School Education (8.7%). Nearly 60% of employed persons in rented dwellings were male compared with 40% being female. The median age of persons in rented dwellings in East Pilbara was 27 years, compared with 32 years for the total population of East Pilbara and 36 years for Western Australia.

In East Pilbara, the number of rented dwellings increased by about 400 properties between 2006 and 2011, with the majority of these households reporting the landlord as their 'employer'. The number of occupied private dwellings increased by about 200 dwellings. The number of dwellings owned outright remained the same, however the number of dwellings owned with a mortgage decreased by about 200 dwellings.


BIGGEST GROWTH IN RENTAL RATES(a), by Local Government Area(b), 2006 and 2011

Local Government AreaState/Territory
Home rental rate (%)
Difference(c) (% points)

2006
2011
2006-2011

East PilbaraWA
59.2
76.4
17.2
Halls CreekWA
72.4
84.0
11.6
Port HedlandWA
56.4
67.6
11.2
IsaacQld.
50.3
60.8
10.4
Roxby DownsSA
56.6
66.4
9.8
RoebourneWA
61.6
71.2
9.5
PerthWA
54.1
62.3
8.2
BoddingtonWA
25.3
32.9
7.6
RavensthorpeWA
36.1
43.6
7.6
CoolgardieWA
32.3
39.7
7.4

(a) The home rental rate is the number of occupied private dwellings which were rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household, as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
(b) LGAs with a total occupied private dwelling count under 500 dwellings are excluded from this table.
(c) This calculation is the difference between the percentages from 2006 and 2011 and uses original unrounded data.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011


While most of the LGAs with large growth in rental rates were in regional and remote areas, there was also a large increase in the inner city LGA of Perth.

The usually resident population counted in rented dwellings in Perth had the following characteristics in 2011:
  • Over 55% were aged between 20 and 34 years, with a median age of 30 years.
  • Just under a quarter (22.3%) were attending an education institution, with the majority of these people attending a university (52.4%).
  • More than two thirds (70.2%) were employed.
  • The three main industries of employment were 'Professional, Scientific and Technical' with 16.8%, 'Food and Beverage Services' with 7.4% and 'Metal Ore Mining' with 3.8%.

Median weekly rental payment

Median weekly rent payments among LGAs varied from under $50 to over $550, with the highest payments reported in the Greater Sydney region. The highest was in Ku-ring-gai with $575. Ku-ring-gai had 15.1% of dwellings being rented and a median age of 41 years. This was older than the median age of New South Wales (38 years) and the median age of Australia (37 years). Ku-ring-gai also reported one of the highest median monthly mortgage repayments for 2011, with a monthly repayment of $3,000.


HIGHEST MEDIAN WEEKLY RENTAL PAYMENT(a), by Local Government Area, 2011

Local Government AreaState/Territory
Median rental payment
Homes being rented
($/week)
(no.)

Ku-ring-gai NSW
575
5 397
Woollahra NSW
550
7 778
Manly NSW
520
5 520
Pittwater NSW
500
3 718
Waverley NSW
500
11 621
Willoughby NSW
490
8 490
Canada Bay NSW
480
9 273
Leichhardt NSW
480
8 649
North Sydney NSW
480
14 211
MosmanNSW
475
3 684

(a) Applicable to occupied private dwellings which were being rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


All of the top ten LGAs with the highest median weekly rental payments in 2011 were in New South Wales and had less than 11% of renters reporting their landlord as the state housing authority. They also had high median weekly household incomes of $1,800 and above. This compares with $1,237 for New South Wales and $1,243 for Australia. The median weekly household incomes ranged from $1,817 in Canada Bay to $2,508 in Ku-ring-gai.

See the state and territory pages for maps showing the regional variation in median weekly rent payments.

Median rental payments by landlord type

......Case study

The LGAs of Port Hedland and Roebourne, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, are good case studies for examining the variation in the amount of rent paid to different types of landlords.

The total median weekly rents paid in these LGAs were lower than the national average ($285) at $120. Further analysis of this data by landlord type highlights the impact of public housing and employer provided housing on median rents. For example, the main landlord type for both regions were reported as 'employer-other'. The median rent paid for 'employer-other' was significantly lower, in both regions, than those renting with real estate agents which reflect employers subsidising employee rent, which is common in mining regions. It should be noted that rental subsidies may also be paid as reimbursements by an employer or other party which may impact the way housing costs and incomes are reported in the Census which should be considered in interpreting the results.


MEDIAN WEEKLY RENT(a), By landlord type, 2011

Landlord type
Port Hedland
Roebourne

($)
(% of rented dwellings)
($)
(% of rented dwellings)

Real estate agent
1 200
21
1 200
18
State/territory housing authority
136
18
140
16
Persons not in same household(b)
650
5
1 000
5
Housing co-operative/community/church group
70
2
48
1
Residential park(c)
58
0
420
1
Employer - Government(d)
111
14
130
12
Employer - other
100
37
35
44
Not stated
-
3
-
3
Total
120
100
120
100

(a) Applicable to occupied private dwellings which were rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
(b) Comprises dwellings being rented from a parent/other relative or other person.
(c) Includes caravan parks and marinas.
(d) Includes Defence Housing Authority.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2011


Changes in median rental payments

The cost of renting in a region may change over time, due to changes in workforce demand, population growth or decline, or demand for different tenure arrangements in regions.

The LGAs with the fastest growth in median rental payments between 2006 and 2011 are shown in the following table. As with the fastest growth in median monthly mortgage repayments the majority (eight out of ten) of regions were located in Western Australia. There was also one in the Northern Territory and one in Queensland.


FASTEST GROWTH IN MEDIAN WEEKLY RENT PAYMENTS(a), by Local Government Area(b), 2006 and 2011

Local Government AreaState/Territory
Median Rent Payment
Change

2006
($/week)
2011
($/week)
($)
(%)

WeipaQld.
36
241
205
569.4
RavensthorpeWA
109
220
111
101.8
Serpentine-JarrahdaleWA
155
309
154
99.4
PalmerstonNT
190
360
170
89.5
BassendeanWA
160
300
140
87.5
ArmadaleWA
155
290
135
87.1
BoddingtonWA
120
224
104
86.7
WannerooWA
190
350
160
84.2
BelmontWA
163
300
137
84.0
CockburnWA
180
330
150
83.3

(a) Applicable to occupied private dwellings which were rented (or occupied rent-free) by a member of the household. Excludes 'Visitor only' and 'Other non-classifiable' households.
(b) LGAs with a total occupied private dwelling count under 500 dwellings are excluded from this table.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2006 and 2011


Weipa, in far north Queensland, had the fastest growth in median weekly rent payments, which increased by 569.4% from $36 per week in 2006 to $241 in 2011, a rise of $205. This LGA is characterised by its remoteness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and high proportion of workers in the mining industry in 2011 (the main industry of employment was Metal Ore Mining with 36.1%). Weipa also had the biggest growth in the proportion of dwellings owned with a mortgage between Censuses. In the case of Weipa, mining companies have been the main factor contributing to changes in housing tenure arrangements, with significant numbers of properties changing ownership from mining companies to private ownership (Endnote 3).

Between 2006 and 2011 the number of rented properties dropped in Weipa from 740 to 595, or 20%. The bulk of this decrease was in landlord type 'employer - other employer', which dropped from 474 dwellings to 243. However, the number of dwellings rented from a real estate agent increased from 44 to 146. The number of dwellings owned with a mortgage increased from 69 to 311.

The LGAs of Ravensthorpe and Boddington are regional areas located in Western Australia, but the majority of fast growing rental areas are located in major cities. Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Bassendean, Armadale, Wanneroo, Belmont and Cockburn are all LGAs in the capital city region of Perth. Palmerston is an urban centre near Darwin in the Northern Territory.

The LGAs with the fastest growth in median rental payments between 2006 and 2011 also experienced high population turnover and high population growth during the period. High population turnover may indicate a change in the composition of a region's population, which can have an effect on the region's economy, housing market and demand for services. See Perspectives on Regional Australia: Population Growth and Turnover in Local Government Areas (LGAs), 2006-2011(cat. no. 1380.0.55.007).


MEDIAN RENTAL PAYMENTS: STATE AND TERRITORY MAPS BY LGA

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania
Northern Territory


CONCLUSION

This article examines rental rates across Australia, the associated cost of rental payments and how these costs have changed between 2006 and 2011.

In 2011, the LGAs with the highest home rental rates were mostly located in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, far north and western Queensland, as well as some inner city areas. Northern Peninsula Area, in Queensland, recorded the highest proportion of rented dwellings, with 94.1%. East Pilbara, in far north Western Australia, had the biggest increase in home rental rates, which increased by 17.2 percentage points from 59.2% in 2006 to 76.4% in 2011.

The LGAs with the highest median weekly rent payments were mostly located in the Greater Sydney region, with Ku-ring-gai having the highest median rent payment of $575 per week. Weipa, in far north Queensland, had the fastest growth in median rent payments, which increased by 569.4% from $36 per week in 2006 to $241 in 2011, a rise of $205.

Most rented households (54.3%) had a real estate agent as their landlord, and these households had the highest median rent ($335 per week). Our case study of Port Hedland and Roebourne highlighted the variation in the amount of rent paid to different types of landlords and the impact of employer provided accommodation and subsidies on median rental costs.

This series of housing articles has analysed tenure types based on 'occupied private dwellings' and has not captured 'non-private dwellings' which can include student accommodation, nursing homes, and staffing quarters, all of which have an important impact on housing arrangements in regional areas. Further analysis of this data would provide planners and researchers with the full picture of tenure across Australia.


DATA SOURCES AND DEFINITIONS

Data in this article were drawn from the Censuses of Population and Housing, conducted in August 2006 and August 2011. For more information see ABS Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0).

The Census provides a snapshot of housing tenure in Australia on Census Night. For more information see Fact Sheet: Housing Tenure in the Census.

Changes in rent payments have not been adjusted to take into account the changes to the cost of living. For more information see Fact Sheet: Mortgage and Rent Payments.

Income data collected from the Census has some limitations. For more information see Fact Sheet: Income Data in the Census.

Analysis in this article is based on private dwellings which were occupied on Census Night. This analysis excludes households not classifiable by household type (Visitor only and Other non-classifiable households). This analysis also excludes non-private dwellings.

This article analyses data for Local Government Areas (LGAs) and excludes Unincorporated areas. The Australia Capital Territory (ACT) is included in state and territory analysis, but not in regional analysis as there are no LGAs in the ACT.

The home rental rate is defined as the number of occupied private dwellings which were rented or being occupied rent-free by a member of the household, expressed as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings.

The proportion of homes owned with a mortgage is defined as the number of occupied private dwellings, owned with a mortgage or being purchased under a rent/buy scheme by a member of the household, expressed as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings.

The proportion of homes owned outright is defined as the number of occupied private dwellings, owned outright by a member of the household, expressed as a proportion of total occupied private dwellings.

Total occupied private dwellings include dwellings with tenure type 'not stated'. Across Australia, this represents approximately 2.5% of all dwellings.

The median is the value that divides a set of data exactly in half. It is the middle value when the values in a set of data are arranged in order. If there is no middle value (i.e. there are an even number of values) then the median is calculated by determining the mean of the two middle values.

Data used in this analysis have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of confidential data. As such numbers may differ slightly to other outputs from the ABS website.


ENDNOTES

1. ABS, Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013, cat. no 1381.0, ABS, Canberra.
2. Kelly, J-F., Hunter, J., Harrison, C., Donegan, P., 2013, Renovating Housing Policy, Grattan Institute, Melbourne.
3. Rio Tinto Alcan, Environmental Impact Statement, South of Embley Project, Vol 3, Section 16, Social Impact Assessment, viewed 1 April, 2011, <http://www.riotintoalcan.com/ENG/ourproducts/1818_environmental_impact_statement.asp>.


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