Empty homes on the rise, but so are more crowded homes: 2016 Census

Empty homes on the rise, but so are more crowded homes: 2016 Census
Empty homes on the rise, but so are more crowded homes: 2016 Census

Across Australia, total unoccupied dwellings rose to 1,039,874, or 11.2 percent of the total 9.2 million private homes.

It was at 10.7 percent of the total five years earlier.

Perth had the highest proportion of empty dwellings, with 11 percent. Melbourne was second with 9.6 percent.

In Sydney 7.7 percent of properties were unoccupied, up from 7.2 percent. Melbourne's 9.6 percent was up from 9 percent.

On census night there were 167,500 dwellings in Melbourne left vacant, 26,000 more empty homes than in 2011.

Unoccupied houses are often holiday homes or properties that can't be rented out.

Kristina Clifton, economist at the Commonwealth Bank, noted there had been a lot of talk in the press about foreigners purchasing new apartments and then leaving them empty.

The Federal government is trying to deter this type of activity with a new vacancy tax for foreigners introduced in the latest Federal Budget in May.

The Victorian Government is also introducing a similar tax.

"It’s been difficult to work out the extent to which this is happening.

"But the Census data tell us that the proportion of dwellings that are unoccupied increased by 0.5 percentage points (ppts) to 11.2 percent over the four years to 2016.

"The increase was 0.2 ppts larger than over the four years to the 2011 Census.

"Of the additional stock built over the four years to 2016, around 17 percent has been left unoccupied."

Clifton noted one caveat however is that we don’t know the ownership split between domestic and foreigners owners for this unoccupied housing stock. 

The average home had 2.6 occupants.

But the number of households with six or more people jumped in Sydney over the past five years.

There were 76,323 homes in Sydney with six or more, up 20 percent from the 63,168 five years earlier.

The next biggest increase was among five-person households, which picked up 10.2 percent to 130,712.

Kids staying at home longer, share houses, or multi-generational households, the higher number of people living under one roof is becoming more common.


Households Census


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