The Census provides a good opportunity to look at how the structure of home ownership has changed over time.
While that change is often limited to the pervious Census period, the available data extends back to 1911, so research over a longer time frame can be done.
Analysis of the headline data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the nature of home ownership has changed over the past 50 years.
In the 1961 Census the metropolitan area of Melbourne had 518,476 occupied dwellings, compared to 1.49 million in 2011. While this increase is a natural factor of an increasing population, it is the nature and level of ownership, divided between owners and renters, that details an interesting shift.
In 1961 a total of 73 per cent of homes were either owned outright or being purchased. Not only has the proportion dropped but the change has been accelerating, with a drop from 70 per cent in 2001 to 67 per cent in 2011.
Even more significant is the balance between those who own their home outright and those paying off a mortgage. In 1961 a total of 42 per cent of homes were owned outright. Over the next 40 years that measure did not change substantially, then between 2001 and 2006 it fell to 33 per cent and then in 2011 to 31 per cent.
It is significant to note that in the space of a decade Melbourne has transformed into a city where those with mortgages outnumber those who own their home outright.