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Data Brief 5, 2023

Data Brief 5, 2023

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Electorate data: Housing supply and affordability

Headline electorate data​  |  Electorate tables  |  ​ Interpreting the data  |  ​ Download the data​​  |  ​ Further reading

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Headline electorate data

NSW is facing significant housing supply and affordability challenges. In September 2023, median home prices reached $1,057,000 in Sydney and $708,000 in the rest of NSW. Mortgage repayments for a median-priced home accounted for just under 40% of an average household income. Households that are paying more than 30% of their income on rent or a mortgage are considered to be living in housing stress.

Median rents in the state are also at record highs, having risen 12.7% over the past 12 months to reach $620 per week in the third quarter of 2023. As at June 2023, 12.3% of families in NSW are receiving rent assistance from the Australian Government.

The relationship between housing supply and affordability is complex and subject to much public debate. New dwelling construction needs to meet both current unmet housing needs as well as expected population growth. In 2022, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) forecast that an additional 161,300 dwellings need to be built over the 2023-27 period to meet population growth. This is less than half the amount (377,000) that NSW needs to build over the 2024-28 period as agreed to in August 2023 under the National Housing Accord.

This data brief presents the latest data for 7 housing supply and affordability indicators at the NSW electorate level, many of which are drawn from the 2021 Census. The 93 electorates of NSW have been divided into 2 areas: Sydney and Rest of NSW (see electorate tables for full list). Sydney, Rest of NSW and NSW averages are provided for comparative purposes.​​​


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Electorate tables

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Interpreting the data

Unmet housing need: A low income-household is considered to have unmet housing needs if it was experiencing homelessness, including severely crowded homes, or spending over 30% of their income on rent. Low-income households are defined as those in the bottom 2 quintiles of households by incom​e.

Source: UNSW City Futures Research Centre, Social and affordable housing: needs, costs and subsidy gaps by region, 2022.​

Inactive dwellings: Dwellings are considered to be inactive if they showed​ no signs of active use as either a primary or non-primary residence. The data comes from an experimental Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) housing ​​characteristics publication that uses administrative data. The data are not official ABS statistics.

Source: ABS, Administrative data snapshot of housing, 2023.

Occupied dwelling growth: ​This is the growth in the number of occupied dwellings over the next 5 years needed to house the forecast growth in population. DPE assigns one household per dwelling in its projections. The Barwon electorate data indicates negative dwelling growth due to a forecast decrease in population, rather than a prediction that there will be a loss of dwellings.

Source: DPE, Population projections, ​2022.

Housing stress: Households are considered to be in housing stress if they are paying more than 30% of their income on rent or on a mortgage. The data adds results from two variables derived from the 2021 Australian census: the rent affordability indicator and the mortgage affordability indicator. 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Selected data [Census TableBuilder], 2021.

Homelessness: ​Homeless persons include those living in improvised housing, supported accommodation, boarding houses, severely crowded dwellings, or temporarily staying with other households. 

Source: ABS, Estimating Homelessness: Census, 2023.

Public housing: ​Households are considered to be living in public housing if they are renting from a state housing authority. 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Selected data [Census TableBuilder], 2021.

Rent assistance​Families who receive Commonwealth Rent Assistance are renting in the private market or community housing. They receive rent assistance at the rate of 75 cents for every dollar of rent payable above the rent threshold until the maximum rate of payment is reached.

Source: Department of Social Services, Benefit and payment receipient demographics2023.



The 93 electorates of NSW are divided into 2 areas: Sydney and Rest of NSW (see electorate tables​ for full list).

The electorate tables compare electoral data with the respective area average in a 'percentage above/below area average' column. This column shows the percentage by which an electorate is either above or below the figure for the respective area. It does not show the percentage point difference between the electorate and area average. Data comparing electorates with the NSW average is available for download.

An electorate’s rank in relation to all electorates has been provided in the electorate tables. These ranks are based on the relevant percentage for the 93 electorates. The electorates were ranked from highest percentage (rank 1) to lowest percentage (rank 93). 

For 3 housing indicators, data was only available for Statistical Areas Level 2 ​(SA2s) instead of State Electoral Divisions (SEDs): inactive dwellings, occupied dwelling growth and rent assistance. For these 3 indicators, a population-weighted correspondence was applied to distribute the data at the SA2 level to NSW electorates based on the distribution of the population. The ABS defines SA2s as medium-sized general purpose areas designed to represent a community that interacts together socially and economically. SA2s generally have an average population of about 10,000 people, with a range of 3,000 to 25,000 people. Remote and regional SA2s generally have smaller populations than those in urban areas.

For the rent assistance indicator, the percentage of families receiving rent assistance was calculated by dividing the number of recipients by an estimate of the number of families in 2023. The 2023 estimate of families was derived by applying a ratio of families to households for each electorate as calculated using 2021 Australian census data to DPE's 2023 estimate of total households​.​

​Download the data


Further reading

  • ABS​ building approvals​, 2001 to 2023. This data shows building approvals at the SA2 or LGA level.
  • ABS estimated dwelling stock​ data, 2016 to 2022. This data shows quarterly estimates of dwelling stock at the SA2 level.
  • CoreLogic market trends datasets, 2019 to 2023 (internal users only). These monthly reports provide information on housing trends at the suburb and LGA levels, such as the number of sales, median sale prices, median asking rents, number of listings, and rental yields.
  • NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) housing rent and sales reports, 2007 to 2023. The rent data is available by local government area (LGA) and postcode, broken down by dwelling typology and the number of bedrooms. The sales data is also available by LGA or postcode, broken down by strata and non strata dwellings.
  • DCJ social housing delivery​ reports, 2015 to 2023. The reports look at the number of social housing applicants and tenure arrangements in NSW.
  • DPE Greater Sydney urban development program​. Includes data on dwelling completions, supply forecasts and approvals data for Greater Sydney SA2s and LGAs.
  • DPE housing evidence centre​. Includes data on housing supply forecasts, sustainability in residential development, and boarding house registers.
  • D Gilyana and D Montoya, NSW Electorate Profiles: 2021 Census - Dwellings and transport and Income and housing affordability​, Background Paper 03/2022, December 2022
  • L Roth and D Gilyana, Social and affordable housing shortages​, Key Issues for the 58th Parliament, Research Paper 5, 2023, May 2023

​​Enquiries and feedback can be sent to the NSW Parliamentary Research Service at [email protected]

Title: Electorate data: housing supply and affordability
​Author: Damian Gilyana and Daniel Montoya
Contributor: The authors thank Professor Robert Tanton, Communities in Numbers for his expert statistical advice and data preparation for electorate level analysis​
Publication number: Data Brief No. 2023-05
ISSN 2981-8354 (Online)

The NSW Parliamentary Research Service provides impartial research, data and analysis services for members of the NSW Parliament.

© 2023 Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior consent from the Senior Manager, NSW Parliamentary Research Service, other than by members of the New South Wales Parliament in the course of their official duties.
Any advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this publication is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This publication is not professional legal opinion.

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