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									This chapter forms part of a larger resource, A Social Profile of Boroondara, which is
comprised of nine chapters, including an introduction, and a chapter each on
      population
      family and community
      housing
      health
      education and training
      crime and safety
      culture and leisure
      work and economic resources.

A Social Profile of Boroondara is published by the City of Boroondara, and is designed
to be used for:
      describing the Boroondara community for annual reports and presentations
      strategic planning and service planning
      comparing an agency’s client data to general community characteristics
      allocation of resources across a given geographical area (by Local Government
       Area or by suburb)
      preparing funding submissions.

This edition of the Housing chapter was published in 2010.

More information about A Social Profile of Boroondara can be obtained from:
Social Planning Unit
City of Boroondara
Private Bag 1
Camberwell 3124
Telephone: 9278 4753
The full version of the document can be downloaded by visiting
3      Housing
3.1    Introduction                                                                 4
3.2    Housing styles in Boroondara                                                 4
3.3    Types of dwellings in Boroondara                                             5
3.4    Types of households in Boroondara dwellings                                  9
3.5    Non-private dwellings in Boroondara                                      10
3.6    Residential development in Boroondara                                    11
3.7    State government policy for residential development in Boroondara        15
3.8    Community views on planning and housing                                  16
3.9    Housing tenure in Boroondara                                             17
3.10   Cost of rental accommodation                                             21
3.11   Public housing in Boroondara                                             22
3.12   Crisis accommodation                                                     24
3.13   Local housing issues for low-income persons                              25
3.14   Rooming houses and pension-level accommodation                           27
3.15   The homeless population in Boroondara                                    30
3.16   Real estate prices in Boroondara                                         36
3.17   Real estate prices in Boroondara suburbs                                 38
3.18   Value of private property in Boroondara                                  40

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                 Page 2
Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)   Page 3
3.1     Introduction
Housing plays a critical role in individual wellbeing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics
(ABS) describes it as a ‘fundamental human need for shelter, security and privacy’.1
However, other aspects of our housing – its proximity to essential or desired services, its
suitability to our lifestyle and desires – are also important considerations. All households
must consider their housing costs (either rent or mortgage payments, or maintenance
expenses) in relation to their income and other individual needs. Housing prices should
continue to be monitored, given the importance placed by many Australians on owning their
own home.
At a community level, urban character and housing design give local areas their ‘feel’. The
debate about the appropriateness of some residential developments (whether about design
issues or the suitability of multi-dwelling sites) can create unity in some instances, and bitter
community division in others. For some members of the community, timely access to local
crisis accommodation and low-cost housing, when it is required, is vital.2
This chapter looks at the types of housing and housing tenure in Boroondara suburbs,
Council’s housing policies, real estate prices in Boroondara suburbs, the availability of
public housing and estimates of the homeless population.

3.2     Housing styles in Boroondara
The City of Boroondara contains a diverse mix of built forms, ranging from preserved
Victorian and Edwardian architectural styles to Californian bungalows, inter-war styles
(such as art deco), post-war housing (including Commission housing) to more recent modern
and post-modern styles. Historically the areas that now comprise the City of Boroondara
were prime examples of the ‘garden suburb’ form of development, leading in the
development of nature strips and private gardens. Heritage areas cover over 20% of
Boroondara’s urban area and make a significant contribution to the character of the City. 3

    Australian Bureau of Statistics, Measuring Wellbeing Frameworks for Australian Social
    Statistics 2001, Cat. no. 4160.0, ABS, Canberra, 2001, p. 214.
    City of Boroondara, unpublished information from the Strategic Planning Department,
    September 2009, Melbourne.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                            Page 4
In Hawthorn, many old residences were demolished in the 1970s to make way for new flats.
By 1981 it was estimated that about 45% of Hawthorn’s housing stock was flats. During the
1980s many of the surviving larger homes in Hawthorn were refurbished and preserved. In
Camberwell, the larger blocks tend to have modern two-storey houses, or units if the block
is near a public transport route. Over the 1980s and 1990s older housing blocks were
redeveloped as elderly residents departed the area.
Balwyn North and Ashburton were developed with mainly post-war housing. Ashburton
now has a mix of colonial, federation and modern two-storey residences, as well as the post-
war Commission housing, with the street names around the Alamein railway station
reflecting wartime battle locations (Tobruk, Alamein, Tarakan) or carrying the names of
returning heroes. Concrete was used as the building material for this housing, as other
construction material was scarce in the post-war years.4

3.3    Types of dwellings in Boroondara
In 2006, the City of Boroondara had 62,974 private dwellings, 92.4% of which were
occupied on Census Night. The term ‘private dwellings’ includes houses, flats, caravans, a
house/flat attached to an office, or rooms above a shop. Most of the occupied private
dwellings were low-density separate houses (62.7%), followed by medium-density
dwellings, including semi-detached, flat and unit housing, and low-rise flat or apartment
complexes (29.7%), then high-density dwellings, including flats and apartments in medium-
rise and larger blocks (7.1%).5

    Monash University, Australian Places: A Gazetteer of Australian Cities, Towns and Suburbs,
    Monash University, Melbourne, 2005 (no longer published).
    i.d. consulting, City of Boroondara Community Profile, i.d., Melbourne, 2007,
    <>, viewed September 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                            Page 5
Table 3.1 Dwelling structures in the City of Boroondara, by derived suburb, Census 20066

                      Total          Separate        Medium-                            Other
    Derived                                                         High-density
                    number Of      Houses (Low-       density                          Dwellings
    Suburb                                                           Dwellings
                    Dwellings        density)        Dwellings                        Not Stated*

    Ashburton          2,798           78.9%          14.6%             0.3%                0.8%

    Balwyn             5,985           60.0%          30.3%             1.5%                0.6%

    Balwyn North       7,407           78.6%          14.0%             0.1%                0.5%

    Camberwell         7,921           63.6%          27.4%             1.3%                0.3%

    Canterbury         2,966           64.4%          27.2%             0.7%                1.2%

    Glen Iris          5,531           74.0%          19.9%             0.0%                0.3%

    Hawthorn           9,757           30.8%          34.8%            24.6%                0.7%

    Hawthorn East      5,730           39.4%          36.7%            15.4%                0.5%

    Kew                9,189           53.3%          31.4%             6.2%                0.3%

    Kew East           2,511           65.0%          27.0%             0.8%                0.0%

    Surrey Hills       3,219           61.3%          30.1%             0.4%                0.8%

* Includes caravans, cabins and houseboats.
Dwelling structures varied considerably across the suburbs of Boroondara in 2006. Separate
houses (low density) comprised the majority of dwellings in most suburbs, with Ashburton,
Balwyn North and Glen Iris having over three quarters of total dwellings as separate houses,
whereas medium-density dwellings were more commonly found in Hawthorn East (north of
Riversdale Road) and Hawthorn (see Table 3.1 and Figures 3.1 and 3.2).
An overview of the dwelling types and housing tenure in the City of Boroondara and its
suburbs is also contained in the community profile derived from the 2006 Census. Appendix
F outlines the data available in the community profile.


Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                         Page 6
            Low density (separate houses)           Medium density       High density

    City of Boroondara                               57.9%                               27.5%              6.6%

               Ashburton                                       78.9%                                    14.7%

            Balwyn North                                       78.6%                                    14.0%

                 Glen Iris                                   74.0%                                  19.9%

                Kew East                                65.0%                                   27.0%

              Canterbury                               64.4%                                    27.2%

             Camberwell                                63.6%                                    27.4%

              Surrey Hills                            61.3%                                 30.1%

                  Balwyn                              60.0%                                 30.3%

                     Kew                            53.3%                               31.4%               6.2%

            Hawthorn East                   39.4%                              36.7%                    15.4%

                Hawthorn              30.8%                            34.8%                     24.6%

Note: Excludes other dwellings (e.g. caravans, cabins and not stated). High-density dwellings below
2.0% are not labelled.
Figure 3.1: Percentage of low-, medium- and high-density housing in the City of
Boroondara, by derived suburb, Census 20067


Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                       Page 7
Figure 3.2: Location of medium- to high-density dwellings in the City of Boroondara,
Census 20068

    Australian Bureau of Statistics, Proportion of Medium to High Density Dwellings in
    Boroondara, Local Government Area by Census Collection District, Cat. no. 20630, Map Stats,
    ABS, Canberra, 2007.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                           Page 8
3.4       Types of households in Boroondara dwellings
In 2006, three quarters of families resided in separate houses (74.9%), with the remaining
quarter split fairly equally between living in semi-detached terrace or townhouses (12.8%)
or flats, units or apartments (11.9%). Four in ten people living alone were in separate houses
(39.7%) with a similar number living in flats, units or apartments (39.6%). Almost half of all
group households lived in flats, units or apartments (52.1%), well above the average for the
municipality (21.8%) and just under a third of group households were in separate houses
(29.3%) (see Table 3.2).

Table 3.2 Household composition by dwelling type, City of Boroondara, Census 2006*9

                                Total Households                                         Lone-
                                                         Family          Group
    Dwelling Structures                                                                  person
                                                       Households      Households
                               number         %                                        Households

    Separate house              36,470      62.7%         74.9%           29.3%           39.7%

                                 8,704      15.0%         12.8%           17.6%           20.0%

    Flat/unit/apartment         12,718      21.8%         11.9%           52.1%           39.6%

    Other dwelling including
                                  308        0.5%          0.4%           1.0%             0.7%

* Excludes ‘visitors only’ and ‘other not classifiable’ households.
The types of households living in medium to high-density dwellings, such as townhouses or
flats, varied across the four Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) in Boroondara in 2006 (see
Appendix 2 for a map of SLAs). Camberwell North SLA had a higher percentage of family
households living in medium to high-density dwellings, mostly couples without children.
The Camberwell South SLA had a higher percentage of lone-person households. Hawthorn
SLA had a higher percentage of group households living in medium to high-density

      Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Community Profile Series, Time Series Profile for
      Boroondara (C), Cat. no. 2003.0, ABS, Canberra, 2007.
      Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Community Profile Series, Time Series Profile for
      Boroondara (C), Statistical Local Areas of Camberwell North, Camberwell South, Hawthorn,
      Kew, Cat. no. 2003.0, ABS, Canberra, 2007.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                Page 9
                          Family                   Lone-person                 Group

                                   50.2%                    49.8%

                                                                    43.6%          41.6%    42.4%


      Camberwell North                     Kew            Camberwell South              Hawthorn

Note: Medium- to high-density dwellings are defined as flats, units or apartments and townhouses or terrace
houses. This table excludes ‘other’ dwellings, including ‘shop-top’ apartments, as the ABS does not categorise
them by density.

Figure 3.3: Household types living in medium- to high-density dwellings, Statistical Local
Areas in the City of Boroondara, Census 200611

3.5     Non-private dwellings in Boroondara
The City of Boroondara had 117 non-private dwellings in the 2006 Census, compared with
154 non-private dwellings in 2001. Non-private dwellings include aged accommodation
homes, nursing homes, convents and monasteries, boarding houses, hotels and motels,
hostels and hospitals. Specifically, 3,775 people (2.5%) in Boroondara lived in non-private
dwellings in 2006, compared with nearly 4,500 persons (2.6%) in 2001. Overall, many more
females (61.6%) were living in non-private dwellings than males (38.3%), probably due to
the higher number of elderly females living in aged care or nursing homes. However, for
particular types of non-private dwellings, the percentage of males outnumbered females –
those living in boarding schools (such as Scotch College and Xavier College), boarding
houses or hostels and private hotels or motels.12 A more detailed discussion of the rooming
and boarding house population in Boroondara is covered later in this chapter.
Across the Eastern Metropolitan Region (EMR), the Cities of Boroondara (2.5%) and
Monash (2.7%) both had the highest percentages of persons living in non-private dwellings
in 2006. Both these Local Government Areas (LGAs) had substantial numbers of persons
living in aged care or nursing homes; in Boroondara there are a number of properties on the

     Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Community Profile Series, Time Series Profile for
     Boroondara (C), Statistical Local Areas of Camberwell North, Camberwell South, Hawthorn,
     Kew, Cat. no. 2003.0, ABS, Canberra, 2007
     Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Tables: Boroondara (C) (Local Government Area),
     Cat. no. 2068.0, ABS, Canberra, 2008.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                          Page 10
site of the former Kew Residential Services (Kew Cottages) for people with intellectual
disabilities and there is student accommodation in Monash (Monash University) and
Whitehorse (Deakin University). Appendix D shows the map of the LGAs in the EMR.13

3.6         Residential development in Boroondara
Market demand for housing across Boroondara has been high, and will continue to be so,
due to the styles and quality of housing stock, the amount of green space, the high-quality
neighbourhood character and the generous setbacks between houses. These features, and the
strong interest from private purchasers and the development industry in purchasing stock in
the area, have affected real estate prices as well as the type of dwellings that are being built.

           Medium/High density   Separate house

                                       59.9%                59.5%                    57.9%


     40%                                                                             34.0%



                    1991               1996                  2001                    2006

Figure 3.3: Separate houses and medium- to high-density dwellings 1991 - 2006, City of
Boroondara, Census 200614
Between 1991 and 2006, the overall proportion of separate houses in Boroondara has been
annually decreasing, albeit slightly, from almost two thirds of all dwellings (62.0%) to
57.9% in 2006 and conversely, the number of medium and high density dwellings has been
slightly increasing over time (see Figure 3.3).

     Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Type of Non-Private Dwelling by Persons:
     Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges, Cat. no.
     2068.0, ABS, Canberra, 2007; and Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census Community
     Profile Series, Place of Enumeration Profile, Cat. no. 2004.0, ABS, Canberra, 2007.
     i.d. consulting, City of Boroondara Community Profile, i.d., Melbourne, 2007,
     < >, viewed September 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                   Page 11
In 2008-09, residential/domestic permits accounted for 88.3% of all building permits issued
in Boroondara (65.8% of the total dollar value of all building permits), and
commercial/retail permits accounted for 8.1% (20.0% of the total dollar value). The number
of residential/domestic building permits issued in Boroondara over the ten years to 2008-09
has remained relatively steady. However, the dollar value of all residential/domestic
building permits has steadily increased from $228.9 million in 2000-01 to $562.5 million in
2007-08, before dropping to $422.4 million in 2008-09.15
The most common type of domestic/residential building permit issued in 2008-09 was for
extension/alterations (42.6%), followed by new building permits (39.0%). However, when
looking at the dollar value of domestic/residential permits issued, new buildings accounted
for 60.0% of total value and extensions and alterations 38.5% (see Figure 3.4).
A significant development trend in Boroondara is the replacement of smaller family homes
with larger single homes on the same block. When analysing residential dwelling demolition
and construction activity between 2004 and 2007 by suburb16, Balwyn, Balwyn North,
Camberwell and Kew had the highest number of demolished dwellings and comparatively
low rates of constructed dwellings, with the exception of Kew. Overall, the largest increases
in the net number of dwellings between 2004 and 2007 were in Hawthorn (401), Hawthorn
East (162) and Kew (145) (see Table 3.3).
Other recent developments include major apartment constructions on large sites, particularly
in and around commercial areas like Glenferrie and Camberwell (e.g. The Well and the
Henley Honda site), housing for the student population, especially around Swinburne
University, the site of the former Kew Residential Services (Kew Cottages) and the
Tooronga Village redevelopment.

     Building Commission, Building Permits data for the City of Boroondara,
     <>, 2009.
     Spatial Economics (for the Department of Planning and Community Development), Residential
     Dwelling Stock and Residential Activity: 2004 - 2007 Boroondara, January 2009, Melbourne.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                           Page 12
Table 3.3 Development activity by suburb, 2004-0717

                                  Number of      Constructed     Demolished
Suburb                                                                        Net dwellings
                                   projects       dwellings       dwellings

Ashburton                             79              64            27             37

Balwyn                               219             125            114            11

Balwyn North                         165             112            80             32

Camberwell                           154             154            77             77

Canterbury                            42              87            21             66

Glen Iris                            141             101            65             36

Hawthorn                              73             433            32            401

Hawthorn East                         72             196            34            162

Kew                                  160             220            75            145

Kew East                              36              43            10             33

Surrey Hills                          59              48            26             22

Boroondara                          1,200           1,583           561          1,022

Across the EMR, Boroondara issued the highest number of domestic residential permits, 413
more than Monash who issued the second highest number of permits and 1,444 more than
the Yarra Ranges who issued the fewest number of domestic/residential permits (see Figure
The Council Plan for 2009–14 reaffirmed the key direction of ensuring appropriate
development to value and conserve Boroondara’s heritage and urban amenity. Actions for
this period include commencing the planning scheme amendment process for the structure
plans for Camberwell, Kew, Balwyn and Glenferrie, finalising Councils residential strategy,
My Neighbourhood, and promoting sustainable design and development.18

     ibid, p. 27.
     City of Boroondara, Council Plan 2009–14, Melbourne 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                      Page 13
                              Number of building permits     Value of building work
         (No.)                                                                            ($M)
     3,500                                                                                       600






        0                                                                                        0
             1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

Figure 3.4: Number and value of residential / domestic building permits issued in the City of
Boroondara, 1999-00 to 2008-09

                              Number of building permits     Value of building work
        (No.)                                                                             ($M)
     3,000                                                                                       450


     2,000                                                                                       300


     1,000                                                                                       150


        0                                                                                        0
             Boroondara   Monash      Yarra     Whitehorse     Knox      Maroondah Manningham

Figure 3.5: Number and value of residential / domestic building permits issued in the EMR,

      Building Commission, Building Permits data for the City of Boroondara,
      <>, 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                 Page 14
3.7     State government policy for residential development in
Melbourne 2030: Planning for Sustainable Growth (2002) (known as ‘Melbourne 2030’) is
the Victorian Government’s planning strategy for metropolitan Melbourne. Initially it
forecasted a need to accommodate population growth of around 1 million people by 2030
(the revised forecast figure is discussed later in this section). This growth was expected to
amount to 600,000 additional households. It set out objectives and strategies to achieve this
and other objectives for Melbourne.
For an inner-Melbourne municipality like the City of Boroondara, the plan proposes to
create a ‘more compact city’ by encouraging new households to locate in ‘strategic
redevelopment sites’. Across many Melbourne suburbs, specific sites that offer a range of
retail outlets, public transport and community facilities would be redeveloped to offer higher
density housing such as ‘shop-top’ housing, townhouses or apartments. Under Melbourne
2030, Camberwell Junction has been identified as a ‘Principal Activity Centre’ and
Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn, and Kew Junction have been identified as ‘Major Activity
Centres’.21 Local government is expected to play a major role in the implementation of
Melbourne 2030 through the development of municipal housing strategies and ‘structure
plans’ specifically for Activity Centres.

In December 2008, the Victorian Government released Melbourne @ 5 million which, in
light of state government predictions that Melbourne will reach a population of five million
sooner than previously anticipated, builds on the original Melbourne 2030 plan. Melbourne
@ 5 Million refines the strategic directions of Melbourne 2030 and incorporates the
Victorian Government’s new population projections (Victoria in Future 2008). Of greatest
relevance to Boroondara is the proposed accommodation of approximately 600,000
additional households in Melbourne by 2020 (rather than 2030) with almost 316,000, or
53%, of these to be located in established areas of Melbourne that have access to public
transport, with an emphasis on development around trams routes.22

Commenced in 2008 and likely to be completed in 2011, the Victorian Government has
commenced the Housing Growth Requirements project to assess the capacity of all
municipalities in Melbourne to expand, and to discuss with Councils how much
development should occur in their municipality and the best ways to achieve this. This
project arises from the aforementioned strategies and population forecasts.
Towards an Integrated Victorian Housing Strategy: A framework to address our future
housing challenges (2006) was prepared by the Victorian Government as a ‘framework for

     Building Commission, Building Permits data for the City of Boroondara and selected areas
     <>, 2009.
     Department of Infrastructure, Addendum to Melbourne 2030 Activity Centres and Principal
     Public Transport Network Plan November 2003 (p2), DOI, Melbourne, 2002.
     Department of Planning and Community Development (Victorian Government), Melbourne
     2030: A Planning Update-Melbourne@5million (p5, p17), Melbourne,

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                              Page 15
future action to make housing more affordable for individuals and families and more
sustainable for communities and the State as a whole’. It has close links to the objectives of
Melbourne 2030, and identifies the Government's three key housing policy objectives:
     1. Facilitate the efficient operation of the housing market;
     2. Ensure housing and residential development supports the Government's wider social,
        economic and environmental sustainability objectives; and
     3. Minimise housing affordability stress.23
A Fairer Victoria – Strong People, Strong Communities (2008) is the State Government’s
social policy action plan. It seeks to ‘reduce disadvantage and share our State’s prosperity
with more Victorians by building stronger and more inclusive communities’. Relevant
directions include:
Strengthening neighbourhoods and creating liveable communities. Actions under this theme
include the Neighbourhood Renewal and Community Renewal programs. The
Neighbourhood Renewal program works with the community to improve social conditions
and liveability in particular areas. It is active in communities across Victoria with substantial
public housing supply, including Ashburton.
Boosting the supply of social housing (including public and community housing). The
policy states that
        ‘the Government will build on its work to increase the overall supply of social housing in
        partnership with registered housing associations and by continuing to work with the
        Commonwealth and other State and Territory Governments to negotiate a broader National
        Affordable Housing Agreement and develop a national homelessness strategy’.24
The Victorian Government has an ongoing housing role through administration of public
housing and involvement in some aspects of community and private housing.

3.8 Community views on planning and housing
In 2007, for the Council Plan 2008-13, Council conducted a telephone survey asking
residents what they considered important (or unimportant) in their vision for the future of
their area. Residents were asked to rate the importance of four ideas under the theme of town
planning. Over three quarters of respondents (77%) considered aiming for all new houses
and renovations to have an eight star energy rating to be important or crucial (37% crucial),
while 61% felt that it was important or crucial that Council should have a stronger role in
deciding on locations for increased housing density given Melbourne’s population will
continue to grow. Slightly fewer than half of the residents (48%) considered strengthening
local government’s role in town planning to reduce central control from the Victorian
Government to be important or crucial for the Council Plan; almost four in 10 respondents

     Department of Human Services, Towards an Integrated Victorian Housing Strategy (p2),
     Melbourne, 2006.
     State Government of Victoria; A Fairer Victoria – Strong People, Strong Communities (p47),
     Melbourne, 2008.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                             Page 16
(38%) thought it was important or crucial that 10 percent of housing in large multi unit
complexes should be for low income households.25
In June 2009, as part of the development of Council’s Municipal Public Health and
Wellbeing Plan 2009-201326, 503 residents were asked to state their level of agreement to a
number of statements on town planning and liveability. Seven out of 10 respondents (70.2%)
said it was important that a diversity of housing types was available (e.g. apartments,
townhouses, separate housing) in the area, and seven out of 10 (70.2%) respondents said that
it was important that government fund housing for those that need housing support. When
provided with statements about amenity and liveability, 97% of respondents said that it was
important to have access to local shops for daily needs (e.g. food, chemist, newspapers, and
banks) and 89.3% said it was important to have community centres and spaces and/or
activities to be held.27

3.9      Housing tenure in Boroondara
In 2006, nearly 70.0% of Boroondara households were either homeowners or were
purchasing their own home. Between 2001 and 2006, there was a decrease in the proportion
of households who owned their own home, from almost half of all households (47.5%) in
2001 to 39.4% of households in 2006. The proportion of households in the process of
purchasing their home (28.6%) concurrently increased from 21.4% in 2001 (In 2006,
households renting comprised 25.8% of all Boroondara households.28 The vast majority of
people renting accommodation had private (non-government) rental arrangements. A small
percentage of households (0.6%) had some other tenure arrangement, such as rent-free
occupancy or a life-tenure scheme.29

     Nexus Research, Our Boroondara Council Plan Stage 2: Community Consultation – A Research
     Summary; November 2007.
     Every council is required to prepare a municipal public health and wellbeing plan every three
     years which must (a) identify and assess actual and potential public health dangers affecting the
     municipal district; and (b) outline program and strategies which the council intends to pursue to
     prevent or minimise those dangers; enable people living in the municipal district to achieve
     maximum well-being; and provide for periodic evaluation of programs and strategies
     (Department of Health).
     City of Boroondara, Community Planning Department, unpublished data from draft Municipal
     Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2009 -13, Melbourne, 2009.
     Care should be taken when analysing change over time for ‘Owned’ and ‘Being purchased’
     categories as changes to the wording of the responses in the Census questionnaire between 2001
     and 2006 may have resulted in skewed data.
     i.d. consulting, City of Boroondara Community Profile, i.d., Melbourne, 2007,
     <>, viewed September 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                 Page 17
Table 3.4: Housing tenure in the City of Boroondara, by derived suburb, Census 2006*30

                                                                  Renting –
                                                                                      Renting –
 Derived Suburb               Owned            Purchasing       Other/Landlord/
                                                                  Not Stated

 Ashburton                     38.8%              32.0%              15.3%               9.8%

 Balwyn                        46.9%              27.4%              19.9%               0.3%

 Balwyn North                  50.7%              29.6%              14.5%               0.1%

 Camberwell                    44.3%              30.4%              20.5%               0.1%

 Canterbury                    43.6%              31.5%              18.9%               0.5%

 Glen Iris                     43.1%              35.6%              15.7%               0.1%

 Hawthorn                      25.2%              20.7%              43.8%               1.4%

 Hawthorn East                 29.0%              26.7%              34.9%               2.0%

 Kew                           38.6%              27.1%              27.0%               0.3%

 Kew East                      40.5%              30.7%              21.4%               0.6%

 Surrey Hills                  39.8%              35.3%              19.7%               0.1%

* Includes dwellings being occupied rent-free and dwellings being occupied under a life-tenure
It might be assumed that Boroondara would have a higher proportion of homes owned in full
due to higher overall income levels, compared with other municipalities in eastern
Melbourne. However, in 2006 Boroondara had the fourth-highest (39.4%) rate of full home
ownership out of the seven local government areas in the EMR. The Cities of Manningham
(48.1%), Monash (42.4%) and Whitehorse (40.8%) each had higher levels of full home
As with dwelling types, housing tenure also varied between Boroondara suburbs in 2006.
Table 3.4 shows that Balwyn North and Glen Iris had the highest percentage of homes
owned or being purchased, while Hawthorn, Hawthorn East and Kew had the highest
percentage of rented dwellings. In 2006, the ‘mortgage belt’ for the City of Boroondara was
located in the south-eastern corner of the municipality, with the suburbs of Glen Iris
(35.6%), Surrey Hills (35.3%) and Ashburton (32.0%) having the highest percentage of

     Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census: Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah,
     Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges, Cat. no. 2004.0, ABS, Canberra, 2007.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                               Page 18
homes being purchased. The suburbs with the highest percentage of home ownership were
Balwyn North (50.7%) and Balwyn (46.9%).
According to residents’ responses to the 2006 Census, across Boroondara there were 580
dwellings (mostly flats) being rented from a state housing authority in 2006 (see Table 3.4).
The majority of these dwellings were located in the suburbs of Ashburton (south of High
Street, west of Warrigal Road) and Hawthorn East (around Melbourne University Private in
Auburn Road, and between Camberwell Road and Riversdale Road). Almost four in ten
(38.9%) of all rented dwellings in Ashburton were rented from a state housing authority
which, in Victoria, is the Victorian Government Office of Housing.32
It should be noted that the number of dwellings rented from a state housing authority in
Boroondara (as stated by residents completing the 2006 Census) is lower than the number of
Office of Housing dwellings published by the Office of Housing (see Table 3.7 in section
3.11). The ABS does not verify or correct residents’ responses to this Census question, so it
is highly likely the Census figure underestimates the number of state housing authority

     i.d. consulting, City of Boroondara Community Profile, i.d., Melbourne, 2007,
     <>, viewed 2 September 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                           Page 19
Table 3.5: Rented dwellings in the City of Boroondara, derived suburb, Census 200633 34

                                                         % of Rentals from
                                      % of Rented                                No. of Dwellings
 Derived Suburb                        Dwellings                                  Rented from
                                                            (of All Rented        Government
                                   (of All Dwellings)

 Ashburton                               25.1%                  38.9%                   258

 Balwyn                                  20.3%                  1.7%                    19

 Balwyn North                            14.6%                  0.6%                     6

 Camberwell                              20.6%                  0.6%                     9

 Canterbury                              19.4%                  2.5%                    14

 Glen Iris                               15.8%                  0.7%                     6

 Hawthorn                                45.2%                  3.1%                    126

 Hawthorn East                           37.0%                  5.5%                    107

 Kew                                     27.4%                  1.3%                    29

 Kew East                                22.1%                  2.9%                    15

 Surrey Hills                            19.8%                  0.5%                     3

     i.d. consulting, City of Boroondara Community Profile, i.d., Melbourne, 2007, viewed 2
     September 2009, <>.
     The ABS randomises information it provides by slightly adjusting data to prevent any
     identification of personal details. Methodologies for doing this have changed between 2001 and
     2006. The totals and subtotals in Table 3.4 will be internally consistent but discrepancies may be
     observed between tables cross-tabulating the same population by different variables. While
     randomisation compromises the table totals by making them appear inconsistent, this is the best
     available socio-demographic data at the suburb level.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                   Page 20
3.10 Cost of rental accommodation
The Residential Tenancies Bond Authority registers and administers all Victorian residential
tenancy bonds, including those on rented premises, long-term caravans and rooming houses.
The following rental information was sourced from this agency and then published by the
Victorian Government’s Office of Housing. In the June quarter 2009, the City of
Boroondara had the highest median weekly rents for two and three bedroom flats and two,
three and four bedroom houses, compared with other LGAs in the EMR and the regional
average (see Table 3.6). Monash however, recorded the highest median rent for one
bedroom flats ($280 per week).
In the inner-eastern region of Melbourne, the suburbs with the highest median weekly rents
in the June quarter 2009 were Kew for one-bedroom flats ($300), and Hawthorn and East
Hawthorn for two-bedroom flats ($350). East Hawthorn had the highest median rents for
two-bedroom houses ($440) and Hawthorn had the highest median rents for three-bedroom
houses ($600).
An analysis of rent or mortgage payments made by Boroondara residents and housing
affordability or ‘housing stress’ is contained in Chapter 8, ‘Work and Economic Resources’.

Table 3.6: Median weekly rents, by dwelling types, City of Boroondara and Eastern
Metropolitan Region, June quarter 200935

                               Boroondara Median Weekly        Eastern Metropolitan Region
 Dwelling Types
                                         Rent                     Median Weekly Rent

 Flat: one-bedroom                         $260                            $235

 Flat: two-bedroom                         $350                            $300

 House: two-bedroom                        $400                            $300

 House: three-bedroom                      $488                            $340

     Office of Housing, Quarterly Median Rents by property types and LGA, OH, Melbourne, 2009,
     <>, viewed December 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                           Page 21
3.11 Public housing in Boroondara
Table 3.7 shows that, as at June 2008 most of the Victorian Government Office of Housing
stock in Boroondara were low-rise flats (54.2%) with smaller percentages of medium-
density dwellings (16.1%) and separate houses (16.1%).

Table 3.7: Number of Office of Housing dwellings, by dwelling type, City of Boroondara,
June 2007 and June 200836

 Dwelling Type                      June 2007             %           June 2008            %

 Flat, Low rise                         445            53.4%             429             54.2%

 Separate House                         129            15.5%             127             16.1%

 Medium Density                         152            18.2%             127             16.1%

 Rooming House Rooms                     69             8.3%              69             8.7%

 Semi-Det. House                         26             3.1%              26             3.3%

 Movable Units*                          12             1.4%              12             1.5%

 Flat, High Rise                         0              0.0%               0             0.0%

 Total                                  834             100%             791             100%

* Self-contained one-bedroom units often placed in rear garden of friend’s or relative’s home for
mostly aged pensioners.
Housing options in the public sector are categorised by the Victorian Government Office of
Housing as either crisis supported, transitional, or long-term rental housing. Longer term
rental housing is offered through the Rental General Housing Program (primarily for low-
income families, older people including the frail aged, single people and youth) and the
Supported Housing Program (primarily for people with disabilities and/or a mental health or
psychiatric illness). Public rental housing tenants pay either the market rent of their property,
or a rebated rent, whichever is the lower amount. A rebated rent is a reduced amount of rent
assessed on the tenant’s household income and equals 25% of the household income.37
The Office of Housing lists eligible persons on low incomes on the ‘wait turn’ list. However,
some applicants require housing urgently and are placed on an ‘early housing’ list. They are
people experiencing, or are at risk of, recurring homelessness (segment 1), have a disability
or health condition with significant support needs (segment 2), or are living in inappropriate
housing for their circumstances (segment 3). The Office of Housing, in accordance with its

     Office of Housing, Summary of Housing Assistance Programs 2006–07 (p47), OH, Melbourne,
     2007; and Office of Housing, Summary of Housing Assistance Programs 2007–08 (p57), OH,
     Melbourne, 2009.
     Office of Housing, Rent, <>, viewed September 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                 Page 22
aim to assist those people in most urgent need on a priority basis, approves applicants on the
‘early housing’ list ahead of ‘wait turn’ applicants (segment 4), regardless of when their
application was lodged.38
Waiting-list data for all applicants to the Box Hill Eastern Metropolitan Regional office,
which covers suburbs in the Cities of Boroondara, Whitehorse and Manningham, is
published by the Office of Housing. As at September 2009, there were 2,572 applicants for
public housing in the Box Hill region, the majority (84.8%) recorded on the ‘wait turn’ list
(see Table 3.8). There were 392 applicants recorded on the higher priority ‘early housing’
The Office of Housing also collates the number of people who are currently living in public
housing but wishing to transfer to another location. In the Box Hill region, 516 applicants
were waiting for a public housing transfer in September 2009 (see Table 3.8).

Table 3.8: Number of applicants on Office of Housing waiting lists, Box Hill Regional Office,
September 200940

    Waiting-List Type                Early Housing         Wait Turn            Total

    Public housing waiting list      392 (15.2%)           2180 (84.8%)         2,572

    Public housing transfer list     156 (30.2%)           360 (69.83%)         516

    Total applicants                 548 (16.7%)           2,540 (83.3%)        3,088

The actual waiting time for any applicant will be affected by a variety of factors:
•      The size of the ‘early housing’ list and who is given priority ahead of others on the
       waiting list;
•      Where they prefer to live (demand varies by location across Victoria);
•      The type of dwelling requested (such as any access requirements);
•      The vacancy rate in the area requested; and
•      The availability of affordable alternatives in the private rental market in the area
In the EMR, the estimated average waiting time on the ‘wait turn’ (segment four) list is at
least fifteen years. Determining the average waiting time on either of the waiting lists, and
the interpretation of these figures, is problematic given the cyclical nature of housing need.
Applicants in the recurring homelessness segment one category are the highest priority,
      Office of Housing, Summary of Housing Assistance Programs 2007–08, OH, Melbourne, 2009.
      Office of Housing, Office of Housing Waiting List Information, OH, Melbourne,
      <>, viewed September 2009
      Office of Housing, Office of Housing Waiting List Information – Public Housing Waiting and
      Transfer List for September 2009, OH, Melbourne, 2009, <>, viewed
      November 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                              Page 23
receiving almost all the available allocations. Allocations to those in the segments two, three
and four categories are infrequent at best, unless they are reclassified into segment one as
homeless. Estimates of the homeless population in Boroondara are provided later in this
chapter in section 3.16.

Neighbourhood renewal
Neighbourhood Renewal is a Department of Human Services program targeted at
disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Victoria. In July 2003, the Ashburton–Ashwood–
Chadstone (AAC) neighbourhood was included in the Neighbourhood Renewal program. It
is expected to run until 2011. The program aims to increase pride and participation in the
community, improve employment, learning and local economic activity, improve safety and
reduce crime, enhance housing and environment, promote health and wellbeing and increase
access to services and improved government responsiveness.41 More details can be found in
Chapter 2, ‘Family and Community’.

3.12 Crisis accommodation
The two major housing programs for short to medium-term accommodation are the
Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) (which ended in January 2009 and
was replaced by the National Affordable Housing Agreement), and Transitional Housing
Management (THM) accommodation for twelve to eighteen months. These programs assist
homeless young people, single adults, families and victims of family violence.
SAAP, until recently, was the primary national program targeting homelessness. In Victoria,
it was the major response to tackling family violence and provides refuge, outreach, referral
and other support services. Data from 2007-08 shows that SAAP clients from the EMR were
mostly female with children (31.0% of all clients), followed by lone males (26.9%) and lone
females (24.8%).42
The main reason for females with children seeking assistance in this period was because of
domestic violence (57.5%). For males over the age of 25, the main reason for seeking
assistance was due to financial difficulties (32.9%). For a quarter (24.8%) of all lone females
that sought assistance, financial difficulties was the main reason assistance was sought,
although domestic/family violence was still the most common reason females (over the age
of 25) sought assistance (32.5%). For both males and females under the age of 25,
relationship/family breakdown was the main reason housing assistance was sought (18.2%
and 19.5% of these age groups seeking assistance respectively).43

     Department of Human Services, Neighbourhood Renewal, DHS, Melbourne, 2005,
     <>, viewed September 2009
     Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Homeless People in SAAP: SAAP National Data
     Collection annual report 2007-08; Victoria supplementary tables (Table 5.1), April 2009,
     Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Homeless People in SAAP: SAAP National Data
     Collection annual report 2007-08; Victoria supplementary tables (Table 5.3), April 2009,

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                            Page 24
The THM program, which is funded by the Office of Housing, provides crisis or short-term
accommodation support. For the EMR, there are three service providers but the main local
provider of this service is the Salvation Army Social Housing Service – EastCare.
The three providers among them manage 57 THM properties (119 bedrooms) across
Boroondara and approximately half of these are located in Hawthorn. The majority (53%)
are general transitional housing with the remainder targeting people experiencing domestic
violence (14% of all properties), mental illness (11%), drug and alcohol problems (9%) and
youth (7%). There is one crisis THM property in Boroondara. 44
There are anecdotal reports of residents being placed in these properties with a 120-day
notice to vacate, given the huge demand for this type of accommodation. Some residents are
then assisted back into the private rental market, but this is often a temporary measure. Once
these residents use private rental accommodation (even on a temporary basis), they are no
longer considered homeless and must reapply to be placed on the segment one waiting list.
Other assistance with private rental includes grants or loans to households in financial
hardship to access or maintain private rental accommodation, especially when there is a risk
of homelessness; and the provision of housing information referral services. Examples of
grants or loans provided are payment of bonds and/or rent in advance, purchase of essential
furniture (whitegoods) and payment of rent arrears.45

3.13 Local housing issues for low-income persons
Social support agencies in Boroondara have identified the local issues relating to the
availability of long-term and affordable housing for low-income persons:
•    Insufficient provision of public housing;
•    A general lack of quality, affordable housing;
•    High house prices and private rental payments in Boroondara;
•    The closure of boarding and rooming houses leading to displacement of residents; and
•    A client group with support needs of medication, health, nutrition, transport and a lack
     of supported accommodation options;
Clients seeking accommodation and other assistance from these agencies commonly had
poor physical health, mental health issues and financial assistance by means of Centrelink or
Veterans Affairs benefits.46

     Department of Human Services; THM properties, January 2010.
     Office of Housing, Office of Housing Frequently Asked Questions – Applying for Public
     Housing, OH, Melbourne, 2005, viewed 6 June 2005, <>; and Department
     of Human Services, Regional Homelessness Strategic Plan Eastern Metropolitan Region July
     2002 (p8), DHS, Melbourne, 2002.
     Community Planning Department, Issues Paper: Social Housing in the City of Boroondara
     November 2005 (pp 26–27), City of Boroondara, Melbourne, 2005.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                           Page 25
The City of Boroondara Social Housing Policy and Action Plan 2008–2011 outlines
Council’s role regarding social housing for people on low incomes in Boroondara. Social
housing is rental housing, primarily for low-income and disadvantaged households, that is
provided for non-profit purposes. In Boroondara, approximately 2% of the total housing
stock could be classified as social housing. Social housing consists of:
•    Public housing, provided and managed by the State Office of Housing; and
•    Community housing, which is publicly funded and managed by not-for-profit
     community organisations.
Community housing programs include rooming houses, group houses and supported
residential programs rented on a non-profit basis.47
Council’s Social Housing Policy addresses significant challenges in the supply of affordable
housing in an area where house prices and rental costs are among the highest in the state,
land values are high, rental vacancies are low and there is a relatively small amount of
public and community housing compared with other areas. While Boroondara is generally
regarded as an affluent community, it has a comparably high rate of homelessness (see
section 3.17). Boroondara is also characterised by a large disparity between income groups,
with significant accounts of scattered disadvantage. In the 2006 Census, for instance, 12.9%
of Boroondara households were revealed as receiving a combined income of less than $500
per week and reliant on some form of social support. In addition, approximately 12.0% of
Boroondara’s children have been estimated by the Brotherhood of St Laurence to be socially
Boroondara’s supply of social housing has been diminished by:
•    The closure of boarding, rooming and apartment houses over the past four decades that
     have historically been a major source of low cost private rental accommodation in
•    Insufficient supply of public housing, in limited areas, and a shortage of appropriate
     public housing for elderly persons and large families; and
•    A lack of supported accommodation options for people with high needs, and to replace
     institutions, such as Kew Cottages, previously catering for groups with particular
     disabilities in the community.49

     Community Planning Department, Social Housing Policy and Action Plan 2008–2011, City of
     Boroondara, Melbourne, 2007.
     Brotherhood of St Laurence, Social Exclusion in Boroondara, Melbourne, September 2005.
     Community Planning Department, Issues Paper: Social Housing in the City of Boroondara
     November 2005, City of Boroondara, Melbourne, 2005, pp. 26–27.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                           Page 26
3.14 Rooming houses and Supported Residential Services
Rooming and boarding houses play an important role in the low-income housing sector and
cater to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community, whose
accommodation needs are not met by other housing options. Rooming and boarding houses
usually provide residents with their own room and shared bathroom, laundry and kitchen
facilities, and may provide some meals and informal support. Residents may stay for a short
or long period; however, many elderly residents consider the house to be their permanent
Historically, single men were the main client group however now other low-income clients,
including single women, young people, families and students, are also seeking these beds.
Owners and operators of rooming houses across inner urban Melbourne have reported an
increasing number of residents with drug and alcohol problems and mental health
A large number of premises and beds have been lost from this sector – around 1,800 beds in
Boroondara over the past forty years and 18 rooming houses in the last ten years alone - with
the majority being resold in the private housing market as spacious family homes. Further
closures are possible, with 2007 Council survey data showing that about one-third of the
remaining owners and operators were feeling unsure about the medium-term future in their
current role. Their reasons for feeling uncertain about their role was mainly the high costs of
land tax, insurance and compliance requirements, followed by personal issues and other
financial issues relating to business viability and rent arrears. 51
In July 2009, in response to growing evidence of an increase in the number of ‘illegal and
unscrupulous’ rooming houses across Melbourne, the state government announced the
Rooming House Standards Taskforce to take ‘action on those predatory operators of
intentionally sub-standard rooming houses who prey on some of the most vulnerable
members of our community’. The taskforce will implement recommendations relating to the
following four key areas: improving standards of safety and amenity, mandatory registration
of operators and premises, strengthening compliance and enforcement, and increasing the
supply of alternative affordable rental housing.52
Within Boroondara there are 13 registered rooming houses that offer accommodation for
low-income residents. Five of these are community managed with the remainder being
privately run.

     Community Planning Department, Issues Paper: Social Housing in the City of Boroondara April
     2005, City of Boroondara, Melbourne, 2005, p.10; and Bev Kliger & Associates, Rooms for the
     Future: The Inner Urban Rooming House Project, Inner Urban Rooming House Project,
     Melbourne, 2003, p. 20.
     City of Boroondara, Homelessness in Boroondara Project Report, December 2008, and;
     Carmona, B, No room to move – Desperate time for 60 residents, Progress Press (Melbourne)
     February 24 2009; and Community Planning Department, Affordable and Social Housing in
     Boroondara, unpublished paper, City of Boroondara, Melbourne, 2007.
     Department of Human Services (Office of Housing); $77.2 million package to improve private
     rooming houses; <>, viewed November 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                            Page 27
Table 3.9: Rooming house premises in the City of Boroondara, 200953

                                                 No. of
 Types of Premises                                                  Suburbs of Premises

 Registered community managed                        5        Hawthorn, Hawthorn East, Kew,
 rooming houses                                                         Kew East

                                                                   Camberwell, Hawthorn,
 Registered private rooming houses                   8
                                                                    Hawthorn East, Kew

 Total                                              13

Supported Residential Services (SRSs) are mostly small private businesses that provide
accommodation and personal care, usually assistance with personal hygiene, toileting,
dressing, meals and medication, as well as physical and emotional support. SRSs receive no
government funding and are able to set their own fees and charges which can range from
85% of the pension up to $1,000 per week or more. However, they are regulated by
Victorian government legislation and monitored by the Department of Human Services.
Residents of pension-level SRSs (which charge fees in-line with pension payments) are
among the most vulnerable in our community and are more likely to have disabilities (for
example psychiatric or intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, multiple
conditions/disabilities) than residents of above-pension SRSs, who tend to be more aged and
frail. With the recent closing of the last pension-level SRS in Boroondara, nowadays all
SRSs in Boroondara are privately run and charge ‘above-pension’ fees.54 There are 11 SRSs
offering a total of 459 beds in the City of Boroondara.

     Community Support Unit, Affordable and Social Housing in Boroondara, unpublished data, City
     of Boroondara, Melbourne, 2009.
     Community Planning Department, Issues Paper November 2005; and Victorian Council of
     Social Services, Review of the Regulation of Supported Residential Services in Victoria, August
     2008, Melbourne; and Supporting Accommodation for Vulnerable Victorians Initiative
     (SAVVI), Working effectively with pension-level SRS residents, 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                Page 28
Table 3.10: Supported Residential Services - facilities by bedroom, Boroondara, 201055

 Facility                                      Suburb                   Number of beds

 Balwyn Manor                         Balwyn                                    57

 Camberwell Manor                     Camberwell                                34

 Hawthorn Grange                      Hawthorn                                  55

 Hawthorns Victoria Gardens           Hawthorn                                  31

 Highgrove                            Kew                                       74

 Iris Manor                           Ashburton                                 60

 Lisson Grove Manor                   Hawthorn                                  40

 Parkland Close                       Kew                                       25

 Rosewood Gardens                     Ashburton                                 45

 The Connault                         Balwyn                                    26

 The Heights                          Glen Iris                                 12

 Total                                                                          459

     Department of Health, Supported Residential Services list of facilities,
     <>, accessed January 2010.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                               Page 29
3.15 The homeless population in Boroondara
The ABS developed a strategy to count homeless people for the 2006 Census. The Homeless
People Enumeration Strategy involved a range of approaches that recognised and addressed
social and cultural barriers to counting homeless people. The strategy also emphasised
Census awareness activities aimed at encouraging homeless people to participate in the
Census.56 In addition to the Census count of homeless persons, statistics on the homeless
population are also drawn from the National SAAP Data Collection which gathers
information on all persons assisted by the SAAP program and research surveys of different
subgroups within the homeless population. These samples are usually drawn from service
The ABS definition of homelessness used in the 2006 Census has been adopted from that
proposed by Chamberlain and MacKenzie.57 It divides homeless people into three groups:
•    Primary homeless includes people without conventional accommodation (living on the
     streets, in deserted buildings, improvised dwellings, in parks);
•    Secondary homeless includes people staying in boarding houses, people using SAAP
     and other similar emergency accommodation services, or people with no secure
     accommodation staying temporarily with friends or relatives in private dwellings; and
Tertiary homelessness refers to people who live in boarding houses on a medium to long-
term basis, operationally defined as 13 weeks or longer. They are homeless because their
accommodation situation is below the minimum community standard of a small self-
contained flat.
How do people become homeless? In a study that looked at peoples transition into
homelessness, five typical pathways were identified: domestic violence, housing crisis,
mental health, substance abuse and youth. Families can enter the homeless population on
any pathway, but the domestic violence and housing crisis pathways are the most
significant.58 Some families become homeless as debt mounts and they are evicted from
their housing. Housing affordability particularly affects low-income families, and housing
affordability has declined to the point where it has become a public issue of major
proportions59. Chapter 8 of this publication deals in more detail with rental prices and
housing affordability.
In metropolitan Melbourne, the rate of homeless persons per 10,000 population varied
considerably. In 2006 the City Core had eight per cent of Melbourne’s total population, but

     Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006 Census: Homeless People, ABS, <>,
     viewed October 2009, Canberra, 2007.
     Australian Bureau of Statistics, Counting the Homeless 2006 (p. vii), Australian Census
     Analytical Program, Cat. No. 2050.0, Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia 2008.
     ibid (p.49).
     Chamberlain C, MacKenzie D 2009. Counting the homeless 2006: Victoria. Cat. no. HOU 203.
     Canberra: AIHW.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                Page 30
24% of its homeless people.60 It was noted that people often became homeless in outer
suburban or country areas but migrated into the inner-city to seek assistance from the
traditional welfare services. By subdivision,61 Inner Melbourne had the highest rate (129
homeless per 10,000), followed by Greater Dandenong City (61 per 10,000), Western
Melbourne and Frankston City (42 per 10,000 each), and Northern Middle Melbourne (40
per 10,000).
In the Boroondara subdivision (the City of Boroondara) in 2006 there were 495 homeless
persons, the same number that was counted in Frankston, and a rate of 32 homeless persons
per 10,000 population –slightly less than the rate of 35 per 10,000 in the Eastern Middle
Melbourne subdivision. (see Table 3.10).

               Staying in
                                                              Dwelling, 2.4%
                                                                           Staying with
                                                                          Friends, 28.1%

                                    Staying in Boarding
                                      House, 50.7%

Figure 3.6: Segments of the homeless population, City of Boroondara subdivision, 200662

     Chamberlain C, MacKenzie D 2009. Counting the homeless 2006 (p. 44): Victoria. Cat. no.
     HOU 203. Canberra: AIHW.
     Statistical subdivisions are defined by the ABS as ‘socially and economically homogeneous
     regions characterised by identifiable links between the inhabitants’. Melbourne is divided into
     16 statistical subdivisions and the Boroondara Subdivision is the Boroondara local government
     Chamberlain C, MacKenzie D 2009. Counting the homeless 2006: Victoria. Cat. no. HOU 203.
     Canberra: AIHW.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                 Page 31
Table 3.11 Rate of homeless persons per 10,000 population, Melbourne subdivisions,

                                                                      Total       Rate per
 Melbourne Subdivisions (and LGAs)                                  number of      10,000
                                                                    homeless     Population

 Inner Melbourne (Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Yarra)        3,490         129

 Greater Dandenong City                                                764           61

 Western Melbourne (Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong,               1,774          42
 Moonee Valley)

 Frankston City                                                        495           42

 Northern Middle Melbourne (Banyule, Darebin)                          971           40

 Moreland City                                                         536           39

 Eastern Middle Melbourne (Manningham, Monash,                        1,440          35

 Southern Melbourne (Bayside, Glen Eira, Kingston,                    1,271          32

 Boroondara City                                                       495           32

 Yarra Ranges Shire Part A                                             451           32

 Eastern Outer Melbourne (Knox, Maroondah)                             692           28

 South Eastern Outer Melbourne (Cardinia, Casey)                       713           26

 Northern Outer Melbourne (Nillumbik, Whittlesea)                      448           24

 Hume City                                                             346           23

 Melton-Wyndham                                                        411           21

 Mornington Peninsula Shire                                            271           20

     Chamberlain C, MacKenzie D, Counting the homeless 2006: Victoria. Cat. no. HOU 203.
     Canberra, 2009, AIHW.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                          Page 32
In 2006, half (50.7%) of Boroondara’s homeless were staying in boarding houses; around
three out of ten (28.1%) were staying with friends or relatives; 18.8.% were staying in
supported accommodation; and a very small percentage (2.4%) were ‘sleeping rough’,
squatting or in improvised dwellings (see Figure 3.6). No caravan parks are located in
Boroondara, so there was a zero population in this category.
Comparing the 2001 estimate of homeless persons (583 persons) with the 2006 estimate
(495 persons), there was a 15.1% decrease over the five-year period.64 Broken down into
homelessness type, there was a 4.4% increase in the proportion of people in supported
accommodation and there was a 1.5% increase in the proportion of people sleeping rough
(see Figure 3.7).


       2006                                          51.8% 50.7%




     Improvised dwellings   Friends and relatives   Boarding house         Supported

Figure 3.7: Segments of the homeless population, City of Boroondara subdivision, 200665

In terms of the age of persons experiencing homelessness, there is little concrete data
available at a local level. However, it is accepted that youth who experience a breakdown in
family are particularly vulnerable to homelessness: this includes teenagers who leave home
for at least one night, without permission, to stay with friends. These absences become more
regular over time, then as young adults they leave permanently, often having experienced
violence, substance addictions and/or mental health issues.66

     Chamberlain C, MacKenzie D 2009. Counting the homeless 2006: Victoria. Cat. no. HOU 203.
     Canberra: AIHW; and Chamberlain C, MacKenzie D 2004. Counting the homeless 2001:
     Swinburne University and RMIT University, Melbourne.
     Chamberlain C, MacKenzie D 2009. Counting the homeless 2006: Victoria. Cat. no. HOU 203.
     Canberra: AIHW.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                           Page 33
Three broad housing issues affecting young people were identified by local service
providers and stakeholders consulted during the drafting of the Boroondara Young Peoples
Strategy, these were;67
        A lack of prevention and early intervention services such as Reconnect (a national
         early intervention program at reducing youth homelessness) which can help and
         support young people to resolve issues such as family conflict;
        No specialist youth housing services in Boroondara to manage youth specific
         accommodation and offer outreach; and
        A lack of appropriate and relevant accommodation such as lead tenant properties that
         can house young people that can no longer live at home.
Estimates prepared by Boroondara Youth Services indicate that about one-third of the 583
Boroondara homeless in 2001 would have been young people aged 12–24 years. Boroondara
Youth Services believes there is a clear service gap in the area of youth homelessness due to
the closure of three youth housing services in the last decade, and shortages in both crisis
accommodation and medium to long-term accommodation. Council has committed to
advocate for additional funding for youth-specific housing stock, a local youth-specific
support service and additional outreach support services for young people living in private
The Youth Services paper on youth homelessness outlines the local issues:
          … youth homelessness in Boroondara is predominately secondary homelessness
          with young people couch surfing at the houses of friends. A smaller number can be
          found in the boarding houses in the area though this option is regarded as a last
          resort option for young people. As the young people wear out their welcome with
          friends and relatives, they are forced out of the municipality by lack of affordable
          youth housing options …

Anecdotally, workers in Boroondara Youth Services and other agencies have found
that many young people in Boroondara leave home because of family conflict around
behaviour issues. Much of the family support work undertaken by Boroondara Youth
Services involves working with parents to set appropriate boundaries for their teenage
children. These issues emerge as young people begin to exercise their independence in
a variety of ways. Tensions around schoolwork, drug and alcohol use, friends and
curfews sometimes escalate to the point where young people choose or are forced to
leave home.

     City of Boroondara, Boroondara Young Peoples Strategy – Background Paper (p19), May 2009.
     City of Boroondara, Youth Homelessness in the City of Boroondara April 2005, Melbourne,
     2005, pp. 2 and 3.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                               Page 34
Abuse, sexual, emotional or physical, is also a key cause of youth homelessness.
These issues, that may be more open in other areas, are often hidden in Boroondara
behind a facade of happy, successful families.69
In 2009, Council adopted a Homelessness Protocol for staff when they are responding to
homelessness in public places. It is based on seven principles, which are;
     1. People who are homeless have a right to be in public spaces and will be treated as any
        other member of the public.
     2. Council will ensure that a person who is homeless has access to resources if they need
        or request them.
     3. Council staff (in particular Parks and Gardens, Call Centre, Local Laws, Youth
        Services and Library staff) working in areas that bring them in contact with homeless
        persons should have sufficient information to assist with a referral to appropriate
        services if needed.
     4. Documenting and sharing information about the level of primary homelessness in
        Boroondara will enable Council and the community to advocate more successfully for
        adequate social housing provision.
     5. Strong collaborative partnerships between Council, housing providers and community
        agencies will improve outcomes for people who are homeless or at risk of
     6. Improved understanding of the causes and effects of homelessness will ensure the
        community approaches homeless people with care, dignity, safety and respect.
     7. All people, including homeless people have a right to benefit from Council services
        and participate in public activities and events.


Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                          Page 35
3.16 Real estate prices in Boroondara
The price of local real estate is usually a topic of great interest in any community, regardless
of one’s intention to purchase or sell a property in the immediate future. Visiting local
homes that are open for inspection and attending auctions in the neighbourhood have
become a weekend activity for many Melburnians.
Melbourne real estate trends show that the late 1980s saw a rapid increase in prices in the
inner and middle suburbs, followed by a slump in prices in the recession period of the early
1990s. Real estate prices then increased markedly from 1996 to 1999. The Institute for
Social Research at Swinburne University have observed a polarisation in the Melbourne
housing market:
          … it appears that the housing market has acted to accentuate the inequalities arising
          from the operation of the labour market. Those areas with high income levels have
          also recorded higher rates of house price inflation and therefore wealth creation for
          owners. Far from being a vehicle for social levelling, as it perhaps was in the post-
          war era, housing and home ownership may well have become a mechanism for
          worsening economic – and, potentially, social – divisions in a way, and to a degree,
          that should be of major concern.

The Boroondara real estate market has mirrored these general Melbourne trends with
substantial increases in prices from the late 1990s to 2007. The largest jump in house prices
occurred in 2007 when the median house price in Boroondara increased by 31% from the
previous year, and median house prices in Boroondara passed one million dollars (see
Figure 3.8). In 2008, however, the median price of houses fell in Boroondara (-5.5%), and in
metropolitan Melbourne generally (-0.7%). However, even with the drop in value, median
house prices in Boroondara in 2008 were still in excess of one million dollars71.
In recent years, Boroondara has had a growing supply of units and apartments. Data for the
2008 year shows a 5.0% decrease in median unit and apartment prices from 2007. Similar to
the situation with house prices, which saw a dramatic increase between 2006 and 2007, there
was a 23.1% increase in the median unit price between these years, the largest one-year
increase since 1988. The median unit price in 2008 was $450,000.

     Institute of Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, Housing Past. Housing
     Futures. Technical Report 4 – Planning Melbourne for the 21st Century (p41), Department of
     Infrastructure, Melbourne, 2000.
     Melbourne Affordable Housing Needs website; Median Housing Prices (real)
     <>, viewed October 2009. (Data Source: Valuer General
     Guide to Property Values, various years).

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                Page 36

                               Houses                                Units


















     1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Note: Prices have been historically adjusted in line with the CPI

Figure 3.8: Median house and unit prices (real) in the City of Boroondara, calendar years
Housing affordability has become a major issue, with lower income earners facing rising
rents and, along with the average first-home buyer, difficulties in affording a home in
Boroondara’s rising house market.
The Melbourne Affordable Housing website provides information on a number of
affordability indicators for selected LGAs. One way of measuring housing affordability in
an area is to look at the percentage of household income that is required for mortgage
repayments. Mortgage stress is a term used to describe households that are paying more than
30% of their income towards their mortgage. In 2008, a person on an average weekly wage
would need to pay 86% of their income towards their mortgage if purchasing a median
priced house in Boroondara, considerably higher than the Melbourne average of 33%. The
percentage of an average income needed for a mortgage in Boroondara has traditionally
been more than the Melbourne average, however the gap widened in 2006 when required
mortgage payments as a percentage of income climbed to be two thirds of the average
household income (see Figure 3.9).73

       Melbourne Affordable Housing Needs website; Median housing prices (real)
       < > (accessed October 2009) (Data Source: Valuer General
       Guide to Property Values, various years).
       Melbourne Affordable Housing Needs website; Ratio of housing costs to household income,
       < >, accessed November 2009. (Data Source: Australian
       Bureau of Statistics, Average Weekly Earnings (6302.0 Table 11B); Valuer General Guide to
       Property Values, various years; Reserve Bank of Australia, Reserve Bank Bulletin, Statistical

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                                                                                                                                             Page 37
       Melbourne Statistical Division         Boroondara LGA

                                                                                    87%    86%

                                                        54%    54%
                                        49%      51%
     35%      36%
                                                        25%    26%    26%
                                        22%      23%
     16%      16%    18%

     1997     1998   1999    2000       2001     2002   2003   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008

Figure 3.9: Ratio of Housing Cost to Household Income, City of Boroondara and the
Melbourne Statistical Division, 1997 – 200874

3.17 Real estate prices in Boroondara suburbs
It should be noted that property sales data collected by the Valuer General Victoria is
considered more reliable than real estate prices reported by local newspapers or
organisations such as the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV). However, the Valuer
General Victoria data is published only by local government area and so does not provide a
local perspective. The real estate data presented in Table 3.11 is used to provide an
indication of trends and differences between Boroondara suburbs.
Real estate statistics for 2008 - 09 collected by REIV showed that Canterbury, Balwyn and
Hawthorn recorded the highest median house prices in Boroondara. In terms of percentage
change between 2007–08 and 2008–09, all suburbs recorded a decrease in median house
prices except for Hawthorn, which saw a 5.0% increase. The suburbs which had the greatest
decrease in the median house prices over the one year period were Kew (-24.3%),
Camberwell (-16.4%) and Canterbury (-14.9%). For units and apartments, Balwyn North,
Ashburton and Kew recorded the highest median unit and apartment prices in Boroondara in
The total value of property sold in 2008-09 varied from a high of $366 million in Balwyn
North, to $65 million in Ashburton, reflecting both property values and the number of sales
in each suburb.

      Tables, Financial Markets, Interest Rates, Table F05 Indicator Lending Rates (Housing Loans;
      Variable; Banks; Standard) (Yearly Median)).

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                 Page 38
Unlike the previous year (2006-07), when suburbs in Boroondara featured strongly in the list
of suburbs recording the greatest growth over one year and five years, the 2008- 09 period
saw no Boroondara suburbs feature in the top ten suburbs that had the greatest one-year
growth. Hawthorn and Balwyn however, continued to feature in the top ten suburbs that
have had the greatest five-year growth. A number of factors, including local impacts of the
2008-09 global financial crisis and an increase in the federal government’s first home buyers
grant (as well as the imminent ending of the boosted grant), saw suburbs with more
affordable houses dominate growth and more established suburbs have big falls in median
house prices.
Table 3.12: Median house and unit or apartment prices, Boroondara suburbs*, 2008 - 0975
                                       % Change
                         2008-09       2007–08                       % Change       Total Value
                         Median       to 2008–09      2008–09        2007–08 to     of Property
                          House         (Median        Median         2008–09         Sold in
                          Price          House        Unit Price      (Median        2008-09
 Suburb                  ($000s)         Price)        ($000s)       Unit Price)       ($m)

 Ashburton                 730          -12.3%            638          -14.9%          93.222

 Kew East                  888          -12.5%            539           11.9%         263.782

 Canterbury               1,410         -14.9%            501           -9.2%         248.247

 Hawthorn East             971           -8.4%            405           -3.6%         337.117

 Surrey Hills              938           -2.5%            532           8.6%          179.672

 Balwyn North              864           -8.1%            745           18.3%         366.366

 Balwyn                   1,200          -5.9%            533           -5.0%         348.307

 Camberwell               1,024         -16.4%            538           -0.5%         207.854

 Glen Iris                 960           -4.5%            450           4.7%          360.711

 Hawthorn                 1,260           5.0%            395           -6.0%          65.121

 Kew                      1,105         -24.3%            478           -7.0%         185.233

* Real estate data represents whole suburb areas – note that the suburbs of Glen Iris, Surrey Hills
and Balwyn North cross the City of Boroondara boundary into neighbouring local government areas.
Across metropolitan Melbourne, the top ten most expensive Melbourne suburbs for median
house prices for 2008-09 included four Boroondara suburbs. These suburbs were Canterbury
(third), Hawthorn (sixth), Balwyn (seventh) and Kew (tenth).

     Real Estate Institute of Victoria, The Sunday Age Domain Property Review, 6 September 2009,
     REIV, Melbourne, 2009.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                              Page 39
The appeal of Boroondara suburbs in the Melbourne housing market is related to their
proximity to many private and independent secondary schools, easy access to the Eastern
and Monash Freeways and the city, and the overall leafy ambience of streets and open

3.18 Value of private property in Boroondara
The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment monitors the value of private
property in each Victorian LGA every two years, with the latest revaluation conducted in
2008. The definition of ‘private property’ is property other than government or religious
property. Boroondara, for the fourth consecutive valuation in a row, recorded the highest
valuation of Victorias 79 municipalities with a total property value of $63.8 billion. This is
up from $42.8 billion in 2006 and $39 billion in 2004. The 49.1% increase in value between
2006 and 2008 was the highest of all municipalities.76
In March 2007, Boroondara became Victoria’s ‘million-dollar property capital’, edging out
Stonnington as the municipality with the highest number of residential properties under five
hectares worth $1 million or more.77





             2000                  2002                  2004                   2006

Figure 3.10: Number of properties valued $1 million and over in Boroondara, 2000–06

     Department of Sustainability and Environment, Property Victoria, edition 21, November 2008,
     viewed November 2009.
     Department of Sustainability and Environment, Property Victoria, edition 15, March 2007,
     viewed November 2009, <>.

Chapter 3: Housing (reviewed January 2010)                                                  Page 40

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