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Tool #1: Choosing what to measure and why

Understand the housing indicator

Why look at housing? What does it tell us?

With population comes increased demand for housing.  For towns experiencing rapid population growth, the demand for housing can rapidly exceed the existing ‘supply’.  When this happens, housing becomes ‘scarce’, and house prices and rents go up.

Studies of U.S. towns experiencing rapid energy development show house prices and rents doubling to tripling during peak conditions.

For people on lower incomes, housing costs use up a greater proportion of their income, leaving less for other essentials.  This is called ‘housing affordability stress’.  Alternatively, home owners wishing to sell may benefit from elevated prices.  Both of these scenarios can lead to out-migration of long-term residents.

What measures to use?

The shaded measures are the baseline indicators used in the UQ Cumulative Impacts study.

Measure Explanation Also available
Median house price

The median sale price is the middle price of all the houses sold in a given time period, usually quarterly.  House prices reflect demand for housing and the desirability of the area to live in.

Median unit price

Median rent for a 3-bedroom house

A 3-bedroom house is typical of most regional towns.  Rents also reflect demand for housing, particularly among young or single people and people in the lower socio-ecnomic brackets.

Median rent for a 1,2,4-bedroom house

Median rent for a unit

Households with housing costs 30% or more of Gross Income

Expressed as a percentage of all households, this indicates housing affordability stress. 

Available for households paying rent, households with a mortgage

Development approvals

The total number of new developments approved by local council in a local governemnt area. 


Number of people on waiting list for public housing assistance

Eligible people seeking housing assistance are placed on a register held by state governments.  In Queensland, there are a number of Housing Service Centres where information is kept.

Last updated 5 November 2015