AHURI BRIEF

Where is the greatest need for social housing in Australia?

Understanding the level and distribution of social housing need in Australia

Last updated 22 Jan 2019

While 384,700 households across Australia were housed in social housing in 2016 (4.4% of all households), an even greater number were in need of it—estimated to be around 433,000 households (5% of all households).

Recent AHURI research developed a demographic model to assess the level and distribution of social housing need across Australia. The analysis took into account existing social housing provision, the current backlog of unaddressed need, as well as the needs likely to arise over the next 20 years. The research then factored in housing and land markets to calculate the cost of procuring the required housing in 88 different areas across Australia.

The table below presents the top 10 SA4 areas that need the greatest number of new social housing dwellings based on this research.

Table 1: Top 10 areas needing the greatest number of new social housing dwellings in 2016

AreaNew social housing
dwellings needed
Households currently
in social housing
Total number
of households
New social housing
dwellings needed
as % of total households

Melbourne—West (Vic)

14,100

6,200

248,000

5.7%

Melbourne—South East (Vic)

13,900

5,700

253,000

5.5%

Gold Coast (Qld)

13,600

5000

216,900

6.3%

Inner South West Sydney (NSW)

13,000

11,800

192,800

6.7%

Parramatta Sydney (NSW)

10,600

11,000

147,800

7.2%

Melbourne—Inner (Vic)

10,100

15,800

266,900

3.8%

South West Sydney (NSW)

10,000

9,400

123,000

8.1%

Adelaide—North (SA)

9,800

12,300

159,900

6.1%

Wide Bay (Qld)

9,000

3,800

115,900

7.8%

Ipswich (Qld)

8,000

5,200

112,000

7.1%

Source: Lawson, J., Pawson, H., Troy, L., van den Nouwelant, R. and Hamilton, C. (2018) Social housing as infrastructure: an investment pathway, AHURI Final Report No. 306

Want to learn more? Join the discussion

An upcoming AHURI Discussion Series will explore the question Is social housing infrastructure? The first event will be held in Melbourne on Monday 11 February 2019 and will bring together thought leaders, policy makers and industry experts to explore this important topic. To find out more or register head to the event page on the AHURI website.