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Census 2016: Renters on the rise

News now outnumber homeowners in more than 150 local government areas around Australia.

Data from the 2016 Census has revealed renting is more common than home ownership in 152 local government areas (LGAs) across Australia. In both Sydney and Melbourne LGA, renters outnumber property owners.

Data shows that shared households are also becoming more common. In the five years between censuses, Victoria has seen a 43% increase in households of seven people and a 46% increase in households with eight or more people. Over the same period, New South Wales saw a 30% increase in households with seven people and a 35% rise in households with eight or more people.

“The Census data provides a much-needed wake-up call to all levels of government about the need to create an integrated approach to deal with housing affordability, and there’s no hiding from the numbers,” said Robert Snell, housing affordability expert at financial coaching and advice firm Life Values.

“I find the lack of an integrated government policy on housing affordability to be a policy failure by all current and recent governments. Their efforts have been piecemeal, not one of them has even bothered to set a housing affordability target, and we all know ‘if you don’t count it when it comes to policy, it doesn’t matter’. We have to ask, how many Australians should be able to afford to buy and pay off a home? The refusal to set a target shows they’re just not serious about helping young Australians in particular buy and pay off a home.”

Snell called for the creation of a non-governmental National Housing Affordability Planning Organisation, or NHAPO.

“NHAPO should be given the power to set interim and long-term housing affordability targets for each city with a focus on infrastructure to make the cities more livable and more capable of dealing with immigration and population growth. NHAPO would also need to have the authority to convert the planning into action. This process also needs to get greater consensus among local communities where change will occur and those who will need to build the developments. So a very open and continuous process of consultation and communication will be required. I believe that having articulated housing affordability goals will aid local communities in better understanding the reasons for a change,” Snell said.

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