Notes on the data: Housing/ Transport

Low income households with mortgage stress, 2011


Policy context:  A family or individual is considered to be in mortgage stress if they are in a low-income bracket and pay more than 30% of their income on mortgage repayments. Acute mortgage stress occurs when 50% of income is spent on mortgage repayments. Increasing numbers of families are experiencing housing stress, and are at risk of homelessness [1].

Housing stress is increasing due to low investment in public housing, demographic shifts and increases in the number of households including through family breakdown; and a tendency for affluent people to want to live in the inner-city, which increases rents and forces low-income earners out of even relatively low-standard, un-renovated housing [2].


  1. Yates J, Gabriel M. Housing affordability in Australia. Sydney: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute; 2006.
  2. St Vincent de Paul Society (SVdPS). Don’t dream, it’s over: housing stress in Australia’s private rental market. Canberra: SVdPS; 2007.

Notes:  Income is equivalised; equivalised household income per week can be viewed as an indicator of the economic resources available to a standardised household. For a lone person household it is equal to household income. For a household comprising more than one person, it is an indicator of the household income that would be needed by a lone person household to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing.

Income varies by State/ Territory - NSW: $633; Vic: $640; Qld: $649; SA: $551; WA: $699; Tas: $488; NT: $853; ACT: $987.

The data exclude the population in the 10.8% of private dwellings for which mortgage stress data were not recorded. (The proportion excluded was calculated based on the Australian data.)

Note: For caveats regarding these data, please refer to the Housing Costs Caveats .pdf.


Numerator:  Households in the bottom 40% of income distribution (those with less than 80% of median equivalised income), spending more than 30% of income on mortgage repayments


Denominator:  Mortgaged private dwellings


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on the ABS Census 2011 (unpublished) data.


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