Government assistance with home purchase, private renting up 33%

Annual state and territory government spending on assistance with home purchase and private renting through the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement (CSHA) programs is up by 33%, even though the number of households receiving assistance has remained about the same, according to three reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Approximately 191,000 households received assistance totalling $909 million for home purchase and private renting in 2003-04, up from $686 million in 2002-03 for the same number of households.

Head of the AIHW's Housing Assistance Unit, David Wilson, said that the CSHA programs are designed to meet local needs facing state and territory housing agencies, as well as meeting national housing priorities.

'Approximately $830 million was spent on home purchase assistance in 2003-04, compared to $606 million the previous year, an increase of 37%' says Mr Wilson. 'These funds were mainly provided as loans by the states and territories under the agreement.

'Most of this ($813 million) was given in direct lending, up from $588 million the previous year, with the majority of it going to home purchasers in Western Australia (65%) and South Australia (30%).'

Other home purchase assistance funding included $1,430,000 in deposit assistance, $13 million in interest rate assistance and $882,000 in mortgage relief.

Private rent assistance was provided for just over 150,000 households across Australia. Of the $78 million spent, about $50 million was provided in bond loans, and $24 million in rental grants and subsidies.

This assistance often supplements the assistance provided to households by the Australian Government Rent Assistance program as part of Centrelink payments.

In 2003-04 the CSHA provided 7,129 dwellings for emergency accommodation under its Crisis Accommodation Program (CAP). Approximately $30.5 million was spent on additional dwellings or new constructions.

CAP-funded dwellings are used by governments, churches and other welfare organisations to assist people in situations of actual or impending crisis or homelessness. Support services to these households are provided directly by health and community service organisations, and the national Supported Accommodation Assistance Program.

Reports: Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement National Data Reports 2003-04:

  • Home Purchase Assistance
  • Crisis Accommodation Program
  • Private Rent Assistance

3 March 2005

Further information: David Wilson, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1202.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, tel. 02 6244 1032.