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2016 census data: Australia now...

2016 census data: Australia now a nation of renters

More Australian residents are renting properties than ever before, indicating that investment opportunities in the buy-to-let market are prevalent.

Newly released data from the country's 2016 census shows that 30.9 per cent of properties down under were rented last year, marking an increase from 29.6 per cent five years earlier, the Guardian reports.

The data demonstrates a significant shift in the Australian property market, indicating that more investors rather than ordinary consumers are purchasing the homes on offer. But tenants are largely happy to rent and many are fine with the fact that this will be their living situation for the long term.

Areas that were once inhabited primarily by homeowners have now become rental hotspots, including those in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne. One such neighbourhood is Parramatta in Sydney, which just a few years ago was dominated by owner-occupiers, but now two-thirds of its population are renters.

The Guardian reports that this trend can also be seen in Melbourne's suburbs, with 50 per cent of households in Dandenong now occupied by renters, along with 48 per cent of all those in Hawthorn and 42 per cent of homes in Box Hill.

With the rise of renters, however, has come the need for new regulations to protect this growing community.

For example, the opposition government in New South Wales wants to see longer tenancy periods brought in and believes that rent changes should only be allowed once a year at most.

The party's minister for innovation and better regulation Matt Kean explained that it was working on policies "strengthening [tenants'] rights to get repairs done, introducing better disclosure requirements prior to a tenant signing a lease and increased protections for tenants regarding photos and videos of the interior of their rental properties".

Yasmin Catley, spokeswoman for the opposition, added: "If you are a good landlord, then there is no reason to fear the changes we are proposing."

All information provided is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal financial circumstances or objectives. Before making a decision on the basis of this material, you need to consider, with or without the assistance of a financial adviser, whether the material is appropriate in light of your individual needs and circumstances. This information does not constitute a recommendation to invest in or take out any of the products or services provided by SMATS Services (Australia) Pty Ltd or Australasian Taxation Services Pty Ltd.

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