It might surprise some people that about one in ten dwellings in Australia are vacant on Census night. What’s more, as we’ve blogged previously, there are distinct spatial patterns to vacant dwellings, with the highest proportions generally recorded in coastal areas with high amenity. The reasons for this are well documented and are generally due to holiday or second home ownership. However, there are inland parts of Australia where the proportion of vacant dwellings is quite high, and in some parts, increasing over time. Some of these are in locations that are not considered high amenity, so what are the characteristics of these areas? Let’s take a closer look.
What region has the highest proportion of vacant dwellings?
Rural areas, regardless of whether they are on the coast or inland, tend to have higher vacancy rates than metropolitan areas and large regional centres. Similar to coastal regions, many are located in areas of high amenity and hence are attractive locations for holiday or second homes. The table below shows the inland areas with the highest proportion of vacant dwellings across Australia. Note that inland areas are defined as those which do not share a boundary with the coast, and that the table excludes SA2s with less than 200 dwellings.
At the SA2 level, Central Highlands in Tasmania has the highest proportion of vacant dwellings in Australia – 64.2% in 2011. This roughly equates to the Central Highlands Council covering central Tasmania – a sparsely settled area with small towns. Apparently there are a number of fishing shacks around the lakes, which at Census time during the week in the middle of winter are unlikely to be occupied.
|Bright – Mount Beauty||VIC||31.9|
Source: ABS, Census of Population and Housing (2011) – unpublished data
Interestingly, there are SA2s in this list that are located in snowfield regions – an area were you expect any vacant dwellings to be occupied on Census night. In Mansfield, almost half of dwellings were unoccupied – surprising given that Mount Buller and its ski fields are located in this area. Other ski field locations with a high proportion of vacant dwellings on Census night include Cooma Region in NSW (33.4%) and Bright – Mount Beauty (31.9%). While the ski fields have their peak season in August, it may be affected by the quality of the snow season – 2011 was not a good season for the ski fields and this would have had an impact on vacancy rates. In addition, because of the high amenity of these areas there are a growing number of holiday/second homes.
There are also some very remote areas with high Indigenous populations in this list, namely APY Lands in the north west corner of South Australia and Tanami in the western part of the Northern Territory. The higher proportion of vacant dwellings may relate to the high rate of personal mobility amongst the Indigenous population but there may also be a number of abandoned houses due to the remoteness factor.
|Lockington-Gunbower & District||8.7||11.5||11.3||15.5||19.1|
|Rushworth & District||16.8||22.5||18.5||18.1||22.9|
|Stanhope & District||7.6||11.3||9.8||11.2||13.6|
|Tongala & District||9.0||10.5||8.0||8.6||10.8|
Source: Census of Population and Housing (1991-2011), compiled and presented in profile.id
Do you live in an inland area? Have you noticed changes in the occupancy rates over time? Give us your thoughts on the potential reasons in the comments section.
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