Wollongong houses are more unaffordable than those in all but one of Australia’s largest cities, but the city’s residents are the most likely to own their home outright.
A new set of government figures, comparing Australia’s 22 major cities confirms growing the expense of local property – and cements Wollongong’s place as the second most inactive city in the nation.
Released on Friday through the federal government’s new National Cities Performance Framework, the statistics also show how Wollongong is placed in population, jobs, livability and infrastructure.
With the inclusion of Western Sydney as a city in it’s own right, Wollongong has been bumped out of the top 10 for population.
It is now ranked 11th with 296,000 people – and 14th for population growth which is stagnant at 1.03 per cent. This puts the population of Wollongong behind Sunshine Coast, which has 317,000 people, and just in front of Geelong (253,000).
Unsurprisingly, Wollongong features at the top of the list when it comes to housing affordability: along with Sydney, it has the equal-second highest house price to income ratio (of 8.4 per cent).
It ranks fourth for median house price ($655,000) and third for median unit price ($524,000), but – despite steep prices – Wollongong residents are the most likely to own their homes outright.
As well highlighting housing, the data shows Wollongong has the highest proportion of residents likely to need government help.
The city ranks first for the proportion of citizens with a disability (6.42 per cent), and has the highest number of public housing units per 100,000 residents.
In positive liveability news, the government’s figures show Wollongong ranks second for “houses with access to green space”, and the data also says all jobs within Wollongong can be reached in half an hour by car.
However, the city’s residents are among the worst when it comes to the use of active transport, ranking second last in front of only Western Sydney.
Wollongong’s unemployment rate of 5.48 per cent puts it 10th in Australia, while the youth unemployment rate of 11.3 per cent is the 11th highest.
High school completion rates were also lower in Wollongong than most other cities, with only 47 per cent of people finishing year 12.
The framework data is part of the government’s Smart Cities Plan, which guides how it will be involved in “supporting productive, accessible, liveable cities”.
As part of this, the government set up “city deals” in Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney, to bring together investment and planning from federal, state and local governments.