A NSW Government website

Housing diversity

Housing diversity within a community provides people with housing choices. It considers the different types of housing available and looks at how a diverse choice of housing can reflect the needs and preferences of households.

This page lists key resources that can be used to understand the different types of housing available and the different housing choices and preferences in NSW. They include data on existing household dwelling types and tenures the number of other types of housing.

The NSW Housing Strategy highlights diversity as one of the 4 pillars of the housing system. The strategy sets a vision for a housing supply that is diverse, meeting the varied and changing needs of people across their life.

Housing datasets

Demography and Housing Dashboard

The Demography and Housing Dashboard is undergoing review to incorporate new data releases. If you would like to be notified when it is updated please register your interest via email at [email protected]

Boarding house register

This dataset is a list of boarding houses in NSW as registered with the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

Data downloads infographic Access the Fair Trading public register data.
Data visualisation infographic No visualisation available.
Geography infographic

This dataset covers:

  • All NSW: Unit record data by address
  • Allows users to aggregate to their preferred geography (e.g. LGA, suburb).
Time period infographic
  • From: 2013
  • To: Ongoing
  • Frequency: Quarterly
Key terms

Boarding house: a type of residential rental accommodation provided for a fee. Usually a resident only has a right to occupy a room and may share other facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom. Boarding houses often provide a form of low–cost rental accommodation for a wide range of tenants. Boarding houses can be leased under occupancy agreements or through a residential agreement. They must be registered if they accommodate five or more residents (general) or accommodate two or more residents with additional needs (assisted).

General boarding house; has five or more paying residents. General boarding houses do not include hotels, motels, backpackers’ hostels, aged care homes or other types of premises excluded by the Boarding Houses Act 2012.

Assisted boarding house; accommodates 2 or more persons with additional needs. A person with additional needs has a disability such as an age–related frailty; a mental illness and/or an intellectual, psychiatric, sensory or physical disability, and needs support or supervision with daily tasks and personal care such as showering, preparing meals or managing medication.

Usage notes
  • This dataset should be used as a broad indicator of the overall number (stock) of boarding houses in an area.
  • This dataset should not be used as an indicator of the supply of new boarding houses. The dataset is frequently revised to reflect new boarding houses as they are identified, however these additions do not necessarily indicate newly built boarding houses. There may be a lag between completing the construction/conversion to a boarding house, the occupation of the boarding house, and the boarding house being registered with Fair Trading.
    • Additionally, the Boarding Houses Act 2012 commenced on 1 January 2013, and proprietors of registrable boarding houses were required to register with Fair Trading even if they were already registered with other agencies. Years 2013 and 2014 may appear to indicate a high volume of new boarding house registrations, however this is incorrect.
    • The Boarding Houses Act 2012 sets the legal requirement for operators of two types of boarding houses to register their boarding house with NSW Fair Trading, and provides for a central register of ‘registrable’ boarding houses. Proprietors of registrable boarding houses to register with Fair Trading within 28 days of commencing operations.
    • The public registers are only as accurate as the information provided by the proprietors and manual inputs from councils. Information may be incomplete and out of date.
    • If a boarding house is operating without registration it is not captured in this dataset (registering on the Boarding House Register is a legal obligation).
    • The Department of Fair Trading also provides a near time searchable register of boarding houses. It is not available to download.
    • The Boarding House Act 2012 is currently under review. In August 2020, a report on the Review of the Boarding Houses Act 2012 was released following a discussion paper and public consultation. It detailed several recommendations, including changes to the register. This means the register is likely to change in the future.
    Source NSW Department of Fair Trading.
    Last updated This information was last updated in April 2021.

    Related resources

    Other housing pillars

    The department acknowledges that the diversity of housing is fundamentally linked to the other key pillars of housing; supplyaffordability and resilience. It should be considered alongside these areas of information.

    Community profile

    When planning for housing diversity, it is important to consider how different groups within a community have different needs and preferences for certain types of housing. Current and future measures of population and the community profile are good starting indicators for understanding housing diversity.

    NSW population projections: See the department's population, household and implied dwelling projections for NSW. They paint a picture of NSW’s population, including how old people are likely to be and where in NSW they are likely to live, as well as the type of households and living arrangements they’re likely to be living in. The data is available at local government area level.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data by region: The ABS presents a range of information by most areas on people and families, including age and education, cultural and language diversity, need for assistance, household composition and employment. Data is sourced from the Census of Population and Housing (a count of every person and home in Australia) data for 2011 and 2016, and various data for 2014 to 2019.

    Aboriginal community portraits: Community portraits on Aboriginal communities for local government areas from NSW Aboriginal Affairs.

    Multicultural community profile: Includes information on ancestry, place of birth and year of arrival, languages spoken at home, religion and English proficiency.

    Income and social health and wellbeing

    Information about household income can inform current understandings of housing diversity in an area, as well as the delivery of diverse housing to suit local needs. Current measures of household income and social health and wellbeing are good indicators for understanding the need for diverse housing.

    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data by region: The ABS presents a range of information on household income, including median household income, select government pensions and allowances (such as the age pension or rental assistance) and a measure of housing stress. Data is sourced from the Census of Population and Housing (a count of every person and home in Australia) data for 2011 and 2016, and various data for 2014 to 2019.

    Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA): The SEIFA are 4 measures produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that ranks areas according to relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage. It is based on information from the Census. The ABS broadly defines relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage in terms of people's access to material and social resources and their ability to participate in society. This was last released for 2016.