Secure, safe and suitable housing is essential if the physical and mental health of individuals is to be maintained. Unsuitable housing due to location, overcrowding, tenure insecurity or unaffordability can have serious health impacts.
Unaffordable housing is an issue for many low-income households and may lead to difficulty affording food, healthcare and other basic necessities. Affordable housing supports physical and mental health and is an important social determinant of health and wellbeing.
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals
Percentage of dwellings that are government owned or community housing
Percentage of households in the bottom 40% of incomes spending more than 30% of income on housing costs
Percentage of rental households in the bottom 40% of incomes spending more than 30% of income on housing costs
Percentage of mortgaged households in the bottom 40% of incomes spending more than 30% of income on housing costs
Percentage of rental or mortgaged households in the bottom 40% of incomes spending more than 30% of income on housing costs
Percentage of households spending more than 30% of household income on housing costs
Specialist Housing Indicators (released June 2023)
Specialist Housing Indicators were developed and piloted in 2022/2023 to address current critical housing issues. The primary aim of the project was to develop specialist housing indicators at small area geography addressing critical housing issues of relevance to public policy and decision-making across Australia. A secondary aim was to pilot and demonstrate the value of small area measurement and mapping of critical housing issues to inform service planning, advocacy and public policy intervention. information on the project supported by the Innovation Catalyst at RMIT and the Victorian Government’s Higher Education State Investment Fund and methods used can be found here.
Precarity Index for Neighbourhood and City Housing (PINCH)(suburbs and LGAs only)*
Location of people 1 week before entering a homeless service (selected LGAs only)**
Average distance travelled by a person to a homeless service in km (selected LGAs only)**
Vulnerability Assessment for Mortgage, Petroleum, Inflation risks and Expenditure (VAMPIRE) (scores range from aminimum of 3 to maximum of 30)***
Key Worker Index (residential)****
Key Worker Index Public Sector Occupations (residential)†
Key Worker Index Service Sector Occupations (residential)‡
Key Worker Index (workplace, LGA only)****
Key Worker Index Public Sector Occupations (workplace, LGA only)†
Key Worker Index Service Sector Occupations (workplace, LGA only)‡
Housing properties owned outright
Housing properties with a mortgage
Housing properties rented from a real estate agency
Housing properties rented from a state or territory housing authority (public housing)
Housing properties rented from a community, cooperative or church (community housing)
Annual count of housing building approvals (total dwellings LGA only)
Annual count of housing demolitions (total dwellings LGA only)
Median annual property price (Victoria only, neighbourhood and suburb)
Median annual property price houses (Victoria only, neighbourhood and suburb)
Median annual property price units (Victoria only, neighbourhood and suburb)
Median annual rental costs for all housing (Victoria only, LGA)
Median annual rental costs for houses (Victoria only, LGA)
Median annual rental costs for units (Victoria only, LGA)
Percentage of housing with affordable rental costs (Victoria only, LGA)
*The Precarity Index for Neighbourhood City and Housing (PINCH) is based on 8 outcomes categories: low- income/susceptible to displacement; ongoing displacement of low-income households; at risk of gentrification; early ongoing gentrification; stable moderate/mixed income; at risk of becoming exclusive; becoming exclusive; stable/advanced exclusive. More information is provided below.
**Collated and purchased from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and derived from the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection when a client receives a Specialist Homelessness Service funded under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHAA). This includes information on the postcode where a client resided in the week before entering a service. The AIHW suppressed values for any suburbs or results that raised privacy concerns. A specialist homelessness service is an organisation that receives government funding to deliver accommodation related and/or personal services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Under the NHHA, agencies are required to participate in the Specialist Homelessness Services Collection where these data are collected from for the period of 2020-2021.
***More information on the Vulnerability Assessment for Mortgage, Petroleum, Inflation Risks and Expenditure (VAMPIRE) is available here and developed from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census data. VAMPIRE includes 4 major variables using counts: proportion of dwellings with 2 or more cars; average household weekly income; proportion of dwellings with a mortgage; and proportion of residents commuting by car. Note the proportion of households commuting by car was very low in the 2021 Census and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
****The Key Worker Index is created based on 4 digit occupation types from the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). Key worker data can be collected at an individual’s home/residential location or their place of work and should be considered with the proportion of people living and working locally and distance travelled to work. The Key Worker Index (residential) is based on the worker’s place of residence. The Key Worker Index (workplace) is based on the worker’s place of work and only available at the LGA. The overarching Key Worker Index comprises both public sector and private sector occupations listed below in addition to pharmacists, doctors, dentists, psychologists, private and public transport drivers, and telecommunications and IT workers.
† Public sector occupations include teachers, nurses, social workers, fire and emergency workers, police, paramedics, prison officers, welfare workers, carers and aides.
‡ Service sector occupations include hospitality workers and managers and workers at cafes, restaurants, motels, hotels and clubs, chefs and cooks, bar attendants, baristas, café workers, waiters, laundry workers and cleaners.
Precarity Index for Neighbourhoods and City Housing (PINCH)
Gentrification describes the class remake of an urban neighbourhood that results in the displacement of lower income households for higher income households. It describes demographic changes that occur in neighbourhoods over time including changes in income and education levels, and cultural diversity. More information on gentrification and displacement is provided in the references below.
PINCH has been developed based on three major types of information that change over time:
- population groups according to income groups (income profiles);
- rental and home values according to market type (housing costs and types); and
- an understanding of who the region is affordable to (housing affordability).
PINCH is a pilot index largely based on ABS Census data changes between 2016-2021 to understand the changing proportions of income groups that housing is affordable to, together with changing housing costs and household income levels over time. Rapid increases in housing costs over time are associated with ongoing gentrification while displacement results in fewer low or mixed-income households remaining in an area over time due to increasing housing affordability. PINCH results are categorised into 8 major categories with definitions below:
- 1. Low income/susceptible to displacement
- 2. Ongoing displacement of low-income households
- 3. At risk of gentrification
- 4. Early ongoing gentrification
- 5. Stable moderate/mixed income
- 6. At risk of becoming exclusive
- 7. Becoming exclusive
- 8. Stable/advanced exclusive
1. Low income/susceptible to displacement describes areas where >= 55% of the population were low income or mixed low income households in 2021
2. Ongoing displacement of low-income households describes areas with these same households within an absolute loss of low-income households over the last 5 years.
3. At risk of gentrification includes areas with low or mixed income households in 2021 with marginal increases in housing cost
4. Early ongoing gentrification includes areas with low or mixed income households in 2021 with rapidly increasing housing costs over the past 5 years (housing costs has increased more than the city’s median)
5. Stable moderate/mixed income includes areas with mixed or high incomes in 2021
6. At risk of becoming exclusive includes areas with mixed or high incomes in 2021 with marginal or rapid increases in housing costs
7. Becoming exclusive includes areas with mixed or high incomes in 2021, increased median income over the last 5 years, with rapid increases in housing costs and absolute loss of low income households
8. Stable/advanced exclusive includes areas that remained exclusive between 2016 to 2021 to high income households.
Smith, N. (2007). Toward a Theory of Gentrification A Back to the City Movement by Capital, not People. Journal of American Planning Association, 45:4, 538-548. https://doi.org/10.1080/01944367908977002
Capp, R., Porter, L. & Kelly, D. (2022) Re-scaling social mix: Public housing renewal in Melbourne, Journal of Urban Affairs, 44:3, 380-396, DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2021.1962723
Dodson, J. & Sipe, N. (2008). Planned household risk: Mortgage and oil vulnerability in Australian cities, Australian Planner, 45:1, 38-47, DOI: 10.1080/07293682.2008.9982634
Porter, L., & Kelly, D. (2022). Dwelling justice: locating settler relations in research and activism on stolen land. International Journal of Housing Policy, 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/19491247.2022.2132461
Porter, L., Jaconelli, M., Cheyne, J., Eby, D., & Wagenaar, H. (2009). Planning Displacement: The Real Legacy of Major Sporting Events “Just a person in a wee flat”: Being Displaced by the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow’s East End Olympian Masterplanning in London Closing Ceremonies: How Law, Policy and the Winter Olympics are Displacing an Inconveniently Located Low-Income Community in Vancouver Commentary: Recovering Public Ethos: Critical Analysis for Policy and Planning. Planning Theory & Practice, 10(3), 395-418. DOI: 10.1080/14649350903229828