What Can The Census Tell Us About Property?
Every five years since 1911, the Census has taken a snapshot of Australia.
On that Tuesday night in August, we all contribute to the national picture of who we are, and how we are changing. And amidst all the data gathered, there are some invaluable insights into the property market.
We’ve all recently participated in the national ‘portrait’ – the Census. When the Australian Bureau of Statistics asks the whole nation to complete a Census form at the same time every five years, it gives us a picture of who we are, and how we are changing. And the data it collects can tell us a lot about the property and real estate.
Who uses the Census data, and for what?
The information collected in the Census reveals where we live, how our households are made up (do we live alone, or in multi-generational families?), how old we are and how much day-to-day support we require. This data is used by governments, businesses, researchers, not for profit and community organisations to make informed decisions about transport, schools, health care, infrastructure, local services and urban planning.
What does the Census tell us about real estate?
The information the Census collects from each household gives us a snapshot of:
- Population size – of the nation, our cities, local government areas and individual suburbs
- The type of housing we live in – freestanding, townhouse, or apartment
- How many people live in our households, and their stage of life – young children, school-aged children, adult children, dual or single parents, and grandparents
- Our tenure types – renting, owning our home outright, or with a mortgage
- The size of our houses – how many bedrooms they have
- Our income, and what we spend on rent or the mortgage, and therefore what proportion of our income goes on housing
- Our movements – how many of us are recently arrived in Australia, have moved interstate or from one local government area to another
This data about housing and how we live is available publicly online, listed by suburb, and can provide a rich insight into property and real estate markets.
How does the Census impact planning and property?
Census data is one of the most important tools used by city and regional planners. Our state and local governments rely on information gathered in the Census to help them prepare their local housing and planning strategies. These are the strategies designed to deliver new and diverse housing and shape the liveability of our suburbs for years to come.
Comparing information collected in the Census about dwelling supply to that about population change can provide an invaluable insight into the property market. In other words – are there enough homes to house our population? We expect the results of this year’s Census (set to be released in 2022) to shed light on the shortage of housing options for downsizers in the Eastern Suburbs, and the growing issue of housing affordability across the country.
The results of this year’s Census will be unique in their revelation of our pandemic lifestyle. This information could influence the management and design of public spaces, the need for cycling and walking paths for commuting, recreation and exercise, and help us better understand the ramifications of the increase in working from home.
Population and demographic information collected in the Census is also used to plan health care, infrastructure and schools in our local areas, all of which can have a significant impact on our quality of life – and our property values.
How does the Census affect the real estate market?
Demographic trends, as measured by the Census, affect the size and type of property people want to buy and therefore the new properties that will be built. And that means that demographic trends affect real estate values. For example, our population is ageing as people live longer. At the same time, families are smaller as people have fewer children than previous generations did.
Demographic data collected in the Census can provide useful clues for canny observers of the property market. For example, when a suburb’s population is growing, it can be a sign that that suburb has good capital growth potential. You could reasonably expect that suburb’s facilities and infrastructure to grow as its population does. Savvy property investors use Census data to identify suburbs likely to attract quality tenants based on the demographics (including age, income and profession) of the people who already live there.
If you’re looking for more insights into the Eastern Suburbs property market, don’t hesitate to get in touch.