As the Aussie home ownership dream fades – it’s time to lift our game for renters
With renting growing at twice the rate of home ownership in Australia, at 64 per cent between 2001–2016, research led by the University of Adelaide has sought to fill the huge knowledge gap about the life of renters ‘beyond the front door’.
Launching Australia’s first comprehensive dataset on renting in Australia, researchers say there has been a big shift in the housing market, and for many Australians, renting has moved from being a transitional proposition, to something more permanent.
“For a long time, we have lived with this notion that Australians are homeowners - now we have to adjust to the fact that future Australians are more likely to be renters than homeowners,” University of Adelaide Professor of Housing Research and study lead, Emma Baker says.
“The problem is, we just haven’t known much about who rents, why they rent, or what they are renting. For more than 20 years, no large-scale national dataset existed.”
Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), a research team led by Professor Baker has delivered Australia’s first and largest Rental Housing Conditions Dataset.
“For a long time, we have lived with this notion that Australians are homeowners - now we have to adjust to the fact that future Australians are more likely to be renters than homeowners”University of Adelaide Professor of Housing Research, Emma Baker.
This important data can be accessed through the Australian Data Archive (ADA). Describing renting households from around the country, it reveals who Australian renters are, what they want, and what they can afford. It also details the diversity of housing quality and conditions across the rental market.
Prof Baker says the Australian Rental Housing Conditions Dataset fills in the gaps in mismatched data and small sample surveys that, until now, have been the only source of information on the realities of renting.
“We now have a resource that will be invaluable in informing future policy on housing, community support and infrastructure spending,” she says.
The research, An Australian rental housing conditions research infrastructure, published today in Nature Scientific Data, has been conducted in partnership with colleagues from UniSA, the University of Melbourne, Curtin University, UTS, Swinburne University of Technology, and Torrens University Australia.
As an adjunct to the research, a citizen science project profiles renter submitted photos of their accommodation – images and descriptors provided to date can be found here.
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