Census 2016 results: Australia ageing & renting

Census 2016 results: Australia ageing & renting

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have released their figures for the December Quarter as well as census data for 2016, painting a picture of an ageing Australia, with a growing population who are choosing to rent over purchasing property.

Population on the grow:

Population at end Dec qtr 2016 Change over previous year  Change over previous year 
PRELIMINARY DATA 000’s 000’s %
New South Wales 7 797.8 116.4 1.5
Victoria 6 244.2 146.6 2.4
Queensland 4 883.7 70.4 1.5
South Australia 1 717.0 10.3 0.6
Western Australia 2 567.8 16.8 0.7
Tasmania 519.1 3.0 0.6
Northern Territory 245.0 0.6 0.3
Australian Capital Territory 406.4 6.8 1.7
Australia (total) 24 385.6 372.8 1.6

Source: ABS December Key Figures

 ABS data estimated the current Australian population to be over 24 million people at 31 December 2016. This is an increase of 372,800 people from 31 December 2015.

The census figures reflected this, with the number of people counted in the census reaching 23.4 million, with an estimated 800,000 overseas. The population has more than doubled in the last 50 years, from 11.6 million people in 1966.

Both ABS data showed that the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has experienced the largest population growth. The census has shown it added 40,000 new residents since 2011, an increase of 11 per cent. ABS key December figures recorded a growth of 1.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016. 

Key December Quarter figures (above) show Victoria’s population growing by 146,600 people in one year, with and the Northern Territory showing lowest growth rate of 0.3 per cent. 

This shift in population to Victoria mirrors the rapidly growing movement of people to Melbourne. There were 4,823,991 residents counted in greater Sydney on census night, growing at a rate of 1,656 every week since 2011. However, Melbourne is growing at a higher rate of 1,859 people each week, with a current population of 4,485,211.

If the city continues to grow at this rate, it could soon overtake Sydney as the most populous city in Australia.

Here comes the boom:


Figures from the 2016 census have also reflected Australia’s ageing population. ABS recorded 664,473 additional people aged 65 and over since 2011.

That means Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation (those aged 65 and over) now account for 16% of the total population, compared to 14% in 2011.

Tasmania had the highest median age at 42 years, with one in five citizens aged 65 and over.

This increase has pushed the median age of all Australians to 38 years.

Renting is up & home-ownership is down:


Source: ABS Snapshot of Australia 2016

34.5 per cent of households are paying off a mortgage in 2016, making this the most popular type of housing tenure for Australians. However, the percentage of Australians who have paid off their mortgage has decreased over the last 25 years. 

The last five years have also showed a continuous trend towards renting, with almost 31 per cent of Australians renting property. The trend towards renting apartments no doubt comes on the back of record high housing costs that are pricing many Australians out of the market. 

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Learn more about home loans

What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?

It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.

But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.

Does Australia have no-deposit home loans?

Australia no longer has no-deposit home loans – or 100 per cent home loans as they’re also known – because they’re regarded as too risky.

However, some lenders allow some borrowers to take out mortgages with a 5 per cent deposit.

Another option is to source a deposit from elsewhere – either by using a parental guarantee or by drawing out equity from another property.

What is a comparison rate?

The comparison rate is a more inclusive way of comparing home loans that factors in not only on the interest rate but also the majority of upfront and ongoing charges that add to the total cost of a home loan.

The rate is calculated using an industry-wide formula based on a $150,000 loan over a 25-year period and includes things like revert rates after an introductory or fixed rate period, application fees and monthly account keeping fees.

In Australia, all lenders are required by law to publish the comparison rate alongside their advertised rate so people can compare products easily.

Does Australia have no cost refinancing?

No Cost Refinancing is an option available in the US where the lender or broker covers your switching costs, such as appraisal fees and settlement costs. Unfortunately, no cost refinancing isn’t available in Australia.

Can I change jobs while I am applying for a home loan?

Whether you’re a new borrower or you’re refinancing your home loan, many lenders require you to be in a permanent job with the same employer for at least 6 months before applying for a home loan. Different lenders have different requirements. 

If your work situation changes for any reason while you’re applying for a mortgage, this could reduce your chances of successfully completing the process. Contacting the lender as soon as you know your employment situation is changing may allow you to work something out. 

Can I get a home loan if I am on an employment contract?

Some lenders will allow you to apply for a mortgage if you are a contractor or freelancer. However, many lenders prefer you to be in a permanent, ongoing role, because a more stable income means you’re more likely to keep up with your repayments.

If you’re a contractor, freelancer, or are otherwise self-employed, it may still be possible to apply for a low-doc home loan, as these mortgages require less specific proof of income.

Will I have to pay lenders' mortgage insurance twice if I refinance?

If your deposit was less than 20 per cent of your property’s value when you took out your original loan, you may have paid lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to cover the lender against the risk that you may default on your repayments. 

If you refinance to a new home loan, but still don’t have enough deposit and/or equity to provide 20 per cent security, you’ll need to pay for the lender’s LMI a second time. This could potentially add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs to your mortgage, so it’s important to consider whether the financial benefits of refinancing may be worth these costs.

Is there a limit to how many times I can refinance?

There is no set limit to how many times you are allowed to refinance. Some surveyed RateCity users have refinanced up to three times.

However, if you refinance several times in short succession, it could affect your credit score. Lenders assess your credit score when you apply for new loans, so if you end up with bad credit, you may not be able to refinance if and when you really need to.

Before refinancing multiple times, consider getting a copy of your credit report and ensure your credit history is in good shape for future refinances.

I have a poor credit rating. Am I still able to get a mortgage?

Some lenders still allow you to apply for a home loan if you have impaired credit. However, you may pay a slightly higher interest rate and/or higher fees. This is to help offset the higher risk that you may default on your repayments.

I can't pick a loan. Should I apply to multiple lenders?

Applying for home loans with multiple lenders at once can affect your credit history, as multiple loan applications in short succession can make you look like a risky borrower. Comparing home loans from different lenders, assessing their features and benefits, and making one application to a preferred lender may help to improve your chances of success

Will I be paying two mortgages at once when I refinance?

No, given the way the loan and title transfer works, you will not have to pay two mortgages at the one time. You will make your last monthly repayment on loan number one and then the following month you will start paying off loan number two.

If I don't like my new lender after I refinance, can I go back to my previous lender?

If you wish to return to your previous lender after refinancing, you will have to go through the refinancing process again and pay a second set of discharge and upfront fees. 

Therefore, before you refinance, it’s important to weigh up the new prospective lender against your current lender in a number of areas, including fees, flexibility, customer service and interest rate.

Can I refinance if I have other products bundled with my home loan?

If your home loan was part of a package deal that included access to credit cards, transaction accounts or term deposits from the same lender, switching all of these over to a new lender can seem daunting. However, some lenders offer to manage part of this process for you as an incentive to refinance with them – contact your lender to learn more about what they offer.

How do I know if I have to pay LMI?

Each lender has its own policies, but as a general rule you will have to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI) if your loan-to-value ratio (LVR) exceeds 80 per cent. This applies whether you’re taking out a new home loan or you’re refinancing.

If you’re looking to buy a property, you can use this LMI calculator to work out how much you’re likely to be charged in LMI.