Jun 27, 2017
Michael Matusik

Following the release of Census data today, population estimates for the last five years can be updated.The population estimate for Australia has been increased 86,000.

The biggest upward revision was for Victoria (+111,000), followed by NSW (+15,000), Queensland and the ACT (both +7,000); South Australia (+5,000).  There was no change to population estimates for the Northern Territory and downward revisions for Tasmania (-1,000) and Western Australia (-58,000).

So, as at December 2016:

State/Territory Total Population Annual growth
New South Wales 7,798,000 116,400
Victoria 6,244,000 147,600
Queensland 4,884,000 70,500
South Australia 1,717,000 10,300
Western Australia 2,568,000 16,800
Tasmania 519,000 3,000
Northern Territory 245,000 600
ACT 406,000 6,800
Australia 24,381,000 372,000

Some Census highlights

  • On average across Australia, the median age of Aussies was 38; there were 0.9 people per bedroom; there were 2.64 people per dwelling (up from 2.63 people in 2011 and 2.61 people in 2006).
  • Between 2011 and 2016, the median household income rose by 16% (or 3.2% per annum) to $74,500 per annum; with the family income up by 17% (3.4% per annum) to $90,000 per annum. The median rent rose 17.5% to be $335 a week and the median mortgage fell by 2.5% to be $1,755 a month.
  • The proportion of families living in detached houses fell from 74% in 2011 to 72% in 2016; those in apartments fell from 14.3% to 13.7%; but those in semi-detached homes rose from 9.9% to 12.7%.
  • The proportion of families renting is now broadly equal to those owning homes outright. The proportion of households who own their homes outright is near a record low.  

Some comments

  • Goes to prove what we have been saying for yonks – there is a mismatch between recent housing supply (last five years or so) and underlying local demand.
  • One place that is getting it right is Victoria. Hence, its upward population recalculation and now high level of annual population growth.  It’s often a catch 22: more affordable housing choice means more demand, which it turn, drives more local employment.
  • As Brendan Crotty, from Australand, often used to say, one new job = one new dwelling required. A good rule of thumb.
  • With wage growth now slowing and more of us renting and/or having a mortgage, any change in costs, including higher interest rates, will likely have an increasing impact on housing demand.
  • Less new homes are needed, plus of course, different ones than, say, high-rise apartments, given the rise in average household size. It more like a crowded house, rather than an empty one.
  • Stick with us, peeps; we know what we are talking about. We will give you the good and the bad news.  And years before the rest!

Keen to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,


Michael Matusik


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