Source: The Australian, 25 June, 1996, p.4

Half of nation's households live in paid-off houses

ALMOST half of the 
country's 6.8 million house- 
holds own their own homes 
outright while another 28 
per cent are paying mort- 
gages, according to the 
Australian Social Trends 
1996 report. 
But while the country boasts 
one of the highest levels of 
home ownership in the OECD 
at 42 per cent, the rate varies 
between States. 
Tasmania has the highest 
proportion of outright home 
owners followed by Victoria, 
NSW, South Australia, 
Queensland, Western Aust- 
ralia, ACT and the Northern 
However, when it comes to 
people who have purchased a 
home between 1992 and 1994, 
the ACT was the most popular 
area with Tasmania coming in 
The median house price 
nationally for the recent 
buyers was $106,000 and only 13 
per cent spent more than 
The proportion of people 
who have paid their homes off 
increased by 4 per cent since 
1980 while the number of new 
home buyers fell by 5 per cent. 
"This partly reflects the 
overall ageing of the popu- 
lation with households consist- 
ing of older people being more 
likely to own their homes out- 
right," the report said. 
According to the housing 
snapshot, the size of the aver- 
age family home increased 
from 170 square metres in 1985 
to 197 square metres nine 
years later. 
The typical family home is a 
bungalow with three bed- 
rooms and one bathroom. 
Only 4 per cent of home own- 
ers and purchasers have given 
up the suburban house for 
apartment living. 
While the age of people buy- 
ing their homes has fallen 
since the last snapshot in 1994 
to 39 years, the survey found 
that it was easier for a couple 
to purchase a house. 
In 1994, 57 per cent of house 
owners were couples, 29 per 
cent were single parents. 
"This reflects the economic 
disadvantage of one-parent 
households and the difficulty 
they may have in establishing 
themselves as purchasers," the 
report concluded. 
Divorced and separated 
couples appear to decide who 
keeps living in the family 
house on a fairly equitable 
The report showed that an 
equal number of men and 
women remained in the home 
after they had separated. 
However, if it was the 
woman who left, she was more 
likely to be in public rental 
accommodation than the man, 
who went to the private rental 
The private rental market 
accommodates 27 per cent of 
The report found that more 
than 50 per cent of purchasers 
and renters in the lowest two 
income groups spent more 
than 30 per cent of their gross 
weekly wage on a home. 

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