Almost 190,000 Australians are on the social housing waiting list as the number of homes available fails to keep up with growth, a new study shows.

The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, released on Thursday, has found 67.5 per cent of households owned their own home, down from 71.4 per cent over the past two decades.

Over the same period, private renting has risen from 18.4 per cent to 25.3 percent, and the proportion of households renting through state and territory housing programs has dropped from 5.5 per cent to 3.5 percent.

The report pointed to factors including a decreasing number of new housing allocations, increasing tenure length in public housing, changes in state and territory housing programs and a falling public rental housing stock.

Housing affordability had fallen since the 1980s with demand putting pressure on prices and pushing low-income families out of the market.

However the report said while house prices in Australia had “increased substantially” in recent decades, price growth had not been uniform across the country.


Sydney prices have seen the steepest rises, particularly in the past five years, and are the most expensive.

In contrast, Hobart has the lowest median house price, currently less than half that of Sydney.

Internationally, Australia ranks 29th out of 37 OECD countries in terms of home ownership rates.

However it ranks in the top third for home owners with a mortgage, comparable to the UK and Portugal.


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