The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) divides housing tenure into three broad categories: those owned outright; those owned with a mortgage; and the rest, which are rented.
The most recent Census, compiled in 2011, found two suburbs in metropolitan Melbourne where more than 60 per cent of homes were owned outright. By way of comparison, the Census found that 33 per cent of homes were rented in 2011, and the balance owned outright or with a mortgage.
It is interesting to note that both locations with very high levels of outright ownership were in seaside locations on the
Mornington Peninsula: specifically Portsea and Sorrento.
The raw data may, however, not reflect the actual ownership scenario, as the Census is based on the physical location of the people when they filled in the Census forms back in August 2011.
Both Portsea and Sorrento are towns more popular in summer than in winter months. During summer, people travel to their holiday homes and short-term rentals are highly occupied.
This is reflected in the Census by the fact that both Portsea and Sorrento had vacancy rates of more than 80 per cent on Census night; it was highest in Portsea, where 88 per cent of homes were vacant.
The age demographic of those who were home also reflects this. In both Portsea and Sorrento 81 per cent of those at home on Census night were aged 55 or over.
This tells you a lot about these towns and highlights the importance of looking at demographic data from a number of perspectives when using it to guide investment decisions.