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Using the Census to your Investment Advantage

This information provides a reliable basis for estimating the population of each of the states, territories and local government areas and is also used by individuals and organisations to make informed decisions on policy and planning issues that impact on the lives of all Australians.

As a property investor, you can use the Census to your advantage to help gain a better understanding of Australian society, where it has come from and where it is heading to help predict housing demand in the short to medium term.

The Census information will allow you to examine the bigger picture on a national and state level, plus you can explore trends suburb by suburb. As an added bonus, the information is free so you can spend hours researching and getting a better understanding of how Australian society, lifestyle and housing trends are changing and what this means for you as a property investor.

Piara Waters: A Case Study

So, let’s say you were considering building a four bedroom, two bathroom investment property in Newhaven Estate in Piara Waters, Western Australia. How could the Census help you with your investment decision?

Firstly, look at the Census trends from a ‘bigger picture perspective’ on a national and state level.

A major trend highlighted in the 2011 Census showed Australia is becoming more multicultural as the number of Australians born overseas increased from 21.9% in 2001 to 24.6% in 2011. The highest levels of migration to Australia are from China and India and demographers predict migration will rise towards the end of the decade (five to seven years from now) to offset the retirement of baby boomers from the workforce.

So what does this mean for investors in Piara Waters?

Piara Waters is centrally located in the south-east metropolitan corridor of WA and is well positioned to be a popular choice for future immigrants. This corridor plus the surrounding areas of Willeton, Canning Vale and Forrestdale are already popular with Asian, Chinese and Indian migrants as evidenced by the growing number of places of worship, cuisine-based restaurants and an increased ownership of local businesses by migrants.

Both Chinese and Indian cultures also have very strong family ties and a large number of migrants plan to bring relatives into Australia and have them housed (generally in rental accommodation to begin with) in the same suburb or a neighbouring suburb to which they live.

This is supported by the popularity and quality of the schools in the local Piara Waters area which already have a higher than normal Asian and Indian student population which provides a strong support network for new residents and migrants.

Piara Waters is also close to the Canning Vale fresh food markets, high quality shopping centres, universities (Murdoch and Curtin) plus public transport which will all appeal to migrant populations including Chinese and Indian families.

The 2011 Census also showed modern families are seeking plenty of space within the family home.

75.6% of the Australian population live in a separate house rather than a town-house, apartment or semi-detached dwelling which has barely changed since 2006. The average number of bedrooms per dwelling was 3.1 and more than 73% of the population lived in a three or four bedroom home.

More than 72% of the Australian population needed to house one or two motor vehicles at their dwelling and these statistics show building a four bedroom, two bathroom home with a double garage is still the preferred type of dwelling for the majority of the Australian population. This is good news if you want your investment property to appeal to as many potential tenants as possible.

In addition to wanting space, the Cenus showed the adult population is delaying marriage or committed relationships to later in life so you can’t blame parents for wanting space in the family home if their children are going to live in the family home for longer!

These figures are important when you consider the design and lot layout of Newhaven Estate. It has been well designed and carefully planned so it is possible to build a flexible, four bedroom, two bathroom property within the estate which does not need to be too big or expensive.

Once you are comfortable your preferred type of investment property fits within the parameters of the national trends and averages, you can use the Census to take a good look at statebased and local area statistics.

You can use the Census to see how target rentals in your preferred location compare to the metropolitan and local averages. In Perth, the median weekly rent within the greater metropolitan area is $320 per week whilst in Piara Waters it is $450 per week so you can run some investment scenarios based on the information available.

Just by entering the Piara Waters postcode into the ABS website, you can download all the latest statistics to gauge the current trends in the area. The Census will tell you the most popular dwellings types, the weekly average rent in the area, family compositions, the average ages per household and plenty of other useful facts. It pays to do your research!

So, if you are looking at investing in Piara Waters or any other suburb in Australia, be sure to visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website before you sign on the dotted line and use the latest Census information to help you make an informed investment decision.

However, just remember the Census information is only updated every five years so if the Census was carried out a couple of years ago, you are encouraged to supplement the information with additional research or expert advice. To browse the 2011 Census, visit and click on the ‘Census Data’ tab.

For further information on Piara Waters or assistance with analysing information available from the ABS website, contact an Investor Assist Property Investment Specialist today.


DISCLAIMER: This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. We strongly recommend that you seek your own professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.