Housing Affordability in NSW [infographic]

Monday, January 30, 2017

We’ve all heard about the difficulty of buying into the housing market in recent times and the subsequent decreases in home ownership rates (in NSW, from 68% in 2004 to 63% in 2014). With less people able to afford a home in the current market, there have been increases in the numbers of people looking to rent in New South Wales, and particularly Sydney.

We were delighted to be commissioned by Churches Housing and Shelter NSW to uncover the story of rental unaffordability in New South Wales. Through this research, we discovered that finding an available, affordable rental property is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly for those in the bottom 20% of income earners.

The decrease in the availability of rental properties over the last decade or so, has been influenced by a number of factors. Rental prices have increased due to the increased numbers of people looking to rent, and in past decades, rental prices have grown faster than income.

The infographic particularly highlights the difficulties for the bottom 40% of income earners in looking for appropriate rental properties. The term ‘rental stress’ is used to describe those in the bottom 40% who are spending over 30% of their income in housing costs. In 2013-14 NSW had the highest proportion of low income households experiencing rental stress, at 76% (compared to 68% nationally). For these households, rental stress can impact on other areas of life, including health care, schooling, diet and in the worst case can sometimes lead to homelessness. 

Income and wealth distribution by state

Monday, September 12, 2016

High wealth, high income

What are the high wealth, high income states? Western Australia is leading in terms of both income and wealth, with $133,224 and $952,500 respectively, which is well above the average household annual gross income of $107,276 and average household net worth of $809,900.

However, over the last year particularly, the impact of the mining slowdown has affected earnings and also wealth. The reliance on the mining sector and the fluctuation of income and wealth based on the fortunes of this one sector are highlighted in the fact that between 2012 and 2014, the household incomes of those in Western Australia rose by 21% which was almost double that seen in the leading east coast state of New South Wales, and the wealth in this 2 year period increased by 24%, again almost double on what we saw from the best performing east coast states.

Top performing states

New South Wales is the most consistent performer in wealth and income, and the only other state to have both income and wealth about the national average (12% on income and 13% on wealth). It has a stable economy, with the largest infrastructure investments in the nation, a broad base of industries and consequently solid forward forecasts.

The Northern Territory, like Western Australia has been fluctuating, and while it has average income above the national average, its wealth is below the national average. Queensland, while improving in both income and wealth is below the national average on both as well. And Victoria while seeing solid gains in both income and wealth, with wealth largely due to the housing market above the national average, its income has still not quite reached the national average.

Worst performing states

The worst performing states are Tasmania, with incomes 26% below the national income and wealth average, as well as South Australia which is 19% below the average household income and 20% below the national net wealth.

While household income gains have been low in some states (a total of 6% gain since 2012 in South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory over the last 2 years), at least all of the states have had an increase in incomes, but such has been the change in property prices and the rise in living costs, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have all seen a slight fall in average household wealth since 2012.

The Shopper's Pick: Understanding Australia's new village green

Thursday, July 14, 2016

This year we were delighted to write up and design the third and latest report in the Trolley Trends Series, ‘The Shoppers Pick’ for Woolworths Limited. From developing the survey through to conducting the analysis, this report is the perfect blend of quality research with segmentation and visuals, making the research easy to consume.

With 1 in 5 (20%) Australian supermarket customers going to the supermarket at least once a week, the report reveals that a record number of people (44%) consider the local shopping centre to be central to community life and has truly established itself as the new village green – a place for connection and engagement with the wider community, perhaps even more so than the local pub, school or community centre.

It is the theme of local which is clearly the key message of ‘The Shopper’s Pick’, which provides a unique look into modern Australia’s living, eating and shopping habits today.


As Australia becomes increasingly connected to global economies and new technologies, there is an equal if not stronger desire among shoppers to support Australian made products and local growers. It is increasingly important to Australian shoppers to know where their food comes from.

More than half of Australian shoppers (52%) state that buying local food is extremely or very important to them. In fact, around a quarter of shoppers prefer to purchase meat and poultry, bread and grains, and seafood and fish that are sourced locally in their own region rather than sourced further afield in their own state or within another region in Australia.


Australians are impacted in different ways by the changing seasons. Australia’s Seasonal Personalities explores the different personalities of Australians and the impact seasons have on their lifestyle. Which Seasonal Personality are you?


Australians are becoming increasingly health conscious and aware of the foods they consume. This trend towards healthy eating is demonstrated in the increase of health foods being included by Australians in their weekly shop.

Just over half of shoppers (52%) buy health food products weekly (i.e. sugar free, additive free, gluten free, dairy free, organic, raw, salt free or vegan), with sugar free products the most likely to be on Australians’ shopping lists and purchased by just over half of shoppers (51%), followed by organic and raw foods (both at 35%), and additive free foods (27%).


Australians are a nation of savvy shoppers, who seek products that are value for money. Nearly 7 in 10 shoppers (69%) state that buying on discount is extremely or very important to them. These values are reflected in the ingredients they purchase for meals cooked at home, with 99% of Australian shoppers saying price is an important factor they take into consideration. As part of being savvy shoppers, Australians are also creative savers. Almost 6 in 10 shoppers (58%) save money by purchasing groceries based on weekly specials, while just over half (52%) save money by writing a shopping list and sticking to it. Stocking up and bulk-buying are two other ways Australians save money, with just over half of shoppers (53%) currently saving money by stocking up on discounted non-perishables.

This report follows on from the 2014 Trolley Trends Report which focused on the increasing importance of ‘Fresh’ amongst the Australian population. The report also found that one of the most common community connections for Australians is the local shopping centre. To access the Future of Fresh report, please click here.

Homes of the Future: Mark McCrindle discusses housing trends

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What is shaping our built environment?

The first is population growth. Australia has just reached 24 million which means we have added an extra million people in less than 3 years, and most of this growth is in our larger capital cities. This is creating a shift from suburban to urban living; from the traditional horizontal communities to the new vertical ones. In our largest capital cities, two-thirds of all new housing approvals are high or medium density rather than detached homes. This densification is creating walkable communities, multi-use areas where people live, work and play in a more localised space, and of course increased access to transit and transport hubs. The other factor shaping developments is affordability. With rising house prices, Australians are looking for financially sustainable options which meet the needs of both lifestyle and affordability, and create the flexibility for our homes to change in tune with our needs and lifestyles.

What are the current trends and will they last?

While design trends come and go with the changing fashions, there are some broader development trends that are here to stay. The increased access to open spaces, in-door out-door areas, balconies, natural light and bringing vegetation into urban environments are all timeless trends that resonates with our temperate climate and needs. Similarly, with food central to our social environment, open-plan kitchens and meal areas in homes and open social spaces in offices are trends we will see continue.

How is technology affecting it?

Today’s technology is seamlessly integrated into our lives, and we are seeing the same seamless integration into our homes. The internet of things means that lighting, sound, temperature, entertainment and security in our domestic environments are all manageable through our personal devices. The decade ahead will see our pantries and fridges talk to our devices to update shopping lists, our home entertainment experience continue playing seamlessly on our portable devices and our hydrogen cars help power our homes.

Image source: The Clipsal Smart Home range (courtesy of www.clipsal.com)

What are the demographic trends?

Homes of the future will have the flexibility to accommodate multiple generations living under the one roof. They will meet the changing needs of a more culturally diverse community and have clever innovations to facilitate support to Australians living independently in their homes to a much older age than we currently see.

What does the future hold?

While Generation Z, who are just starting their careers, will have to pay more for their homes in the future, these buildings and the built environment in which they sit will far exceed what their parents experienced in their first homes. Not only will the technologies and fittings in the home be exciting but the community spaces, café culture and neighbourhood amenities will continue to adjust and adapt to meet the lifestyle expectations of the 21st Century generations.

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