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Australia’s census asked for the first time about housing in high-rise buildings – it revealed it

Written by Javed Iqbal

Prashant Dinkar left his detached home in Killara on Sydney’s upper north coast five years ago.

He could not stand the silence.

Now he lives in a high-rise apartment in the heart of Parramatta.

His unit, on the 12th floor of the 28-story tower, is nine years old and features modern amenities such as air conditioning and safety features.

He is one of about half a million Australians now living in high-rise apartments, the latest census has shown.

The data released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that there were more than 368,000 high-rise apartments – in towers with nine or more floors – in Australia.

The 2021 census counted for the first time the number of floors in apartment and apartment blocks.

A man smiling at the camera holds a puppy
Prashant Dinkar loves his high-rise life in Sydney’s western suburbs.(ABC News: Tony Ibrahim)
A tall residential building, pictured from street level
My Dinkar calls the 12th floor of this western Sydney tower home.(ABC News: Tony Ibrahim)

Sydney is a leader in the country in high-density apartments and houses almost half of Australia’s high – rise population.

About 45 percent (247,506) of the people living in high-rise buildings live in Greater Sydney, where there are nearly 120,000 apartments, or 32 percent of the total country.

Mr. Dinkar enjoys the convenience and scenic views of its high-rise apartment.

“It’s very convenient. Mention one single service you’ll ever need, [and] it is within walking distance, ”he says.

The city of Sydney topped the list of high-rise buildings with more than 35,000 homes, followed by the Parramatta local government area, where more than 30,000 people live in high-rise buildings.

More residents of NSW live in flats and apartments compared to the rest of Australia.

Every fifth home in NSW is now apartment, an increase of about 2 percent since the last census, with a corresponding decline in separate and semi-detached houses.

A higher proportion of NSW residents live in flats and flats compared to Victoria and Queensland.

There were 310,000 more homes in NSW in 2021 compared to 2016.

Nicole Gurran, an urban and regional planning expert from the University of Sydney, said that politics over the last 30 years – and especially the last decade – had driven high-density housing.

“We have actually been at odds with a kind of rhetoric that we hear a lot about, which is that the planning system should allow for more high-rise buildings and dense housing,” she said.

She said it was assumed that high-density housing provided more affordable housing options.

“Now it has certainly not proved to be the case,” she said.

“At least in Sydney, that is still the case with high purchase prices and high rents, and that simply reflects the fact that it is available for transport services.”

A woman smiles at the camera.
Professor Nicole Gurran says housing policy has driven Australia’s shift towards high – density housing.(Delivered: University of Sydney)

She said there was a need for good planning of high-density housing to achieve good quality apartment designs and neighborhoods.

“There is this idea that you might rent an apartment and buy a house. That is certainly not the case and need not be the case,” she said.

The census showed that of the 9.2 million private homes in Australia, 31 per cent were owned directly, 35 per cent were mortgaged and 31 per cent were rented.

In Mr Dinkar’s view, high-rise buildings were best suited for people aged 20 to 40 years.

“Maybe my plan is that two years later I will move back to the suburbs,” he said.

“And the only reason is for my puppy. I want him to have a farm, and that’s the only reason.”

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Javed Iqbal

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