Responding to changing households


Infographic showing that household size shrank from 2.9 people in 1991 to 2.5 people in 2016, decreasing from a peak of 4.7 in 1947. Single person households in the ACT increased by 125% from 1991 to 2016, the fastest growing household type in the ACT. 55% of households have 2 or fewer people.

The trend towards smaller families and households is reshaping our suburbs. While single dwellings remain the dominant form of housing, its proportionate share has decreased between 1991 (80% of dwellings) and 2016 (65%).

Canberran's housing preferences are changing, with higher demand for medium density housing such as townhouses. A recent household survey (2016) under taken on behalf of the ACT Government found that household preferences for dwelling types closely align with dwelling supply.

Changing lifestyle choices, affordability and an ageing population seeking to downsize and age-in-place are shaping the way we choose to live and the housing we prefer. Reducing household sizes presents an opportunity for a more compact and efficient city by increasing density through planning initiatives that support smaller housing typologies (e.g. town houses and multi-unit housing) and greater diversity of housing in appropriate locations.

Housing affordability is a key issue. Housing that is affordable and accessible to all is fundamental to a successful and inclusive city. Families with lower socio-economic status often live further away from the city centre, with reduced access to jobs, facilities and services.

To remain equitable and inclusive, we need to deliver more choice in housing and make sure it is well located to public transport, jobs and services.

Having a range of dwelling types and tenures at different price points in locations throughout the city makes it easier for people to move to a dwelling that suits their changing income and lifestyle needs. More people are wanting to downsize or upsize within their neighborhood, particularly as the population ages.

Infographic showing the share of private dwellings in the ACT from 2016 and the results of an ACT Housing Attitudes and Intentions Survey 2016. Census results showed 65% share of low density dwellings and survey showed a preference of 63%. Census results showed 18% share of medium density dwellings and survey showed a preference of 18%. Census results showed 17% share of high density dwellings and survey showed a preference of 19%.

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