Thursday, March 30, 2017

2016 Census Data is Coming!

On Tuesday 11 April 2017 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will release a teaser, or snapshot if you like, of what attributes make up a ‘typical’ Australian in 2016. This information will only be available at the national and state/territory level. The first detailed 2016 Australian Census data will be officially released on Tuesday, 27 June 2017.

In preparation for this occasion, is making its 2011 version of the Basic Community Profiles for Postal Areas dataset freely available. This free data release gives users a chance to experience its unique capabilities of custom-map creation and personalised in-map analytics – and get ready for the avalanche of information that will be published in coming months!

It is a “big data set about small areas” - in total there are 7,942 individual data items, spread across 66 tables, which can all be used for mapping. There is also a companion data set in Excel format which helps explain the structure of the data and what is specifically available in individual tables.

Postal Area Boundaries 2011 and 2016 are already available for free perusal on the platform and both versions can be conveniently compared on the Australian Postcodes map.

Below you will find links to several public maps - they are published as examples of what can be created with MapDeck’s Thematic Mapper app:

Population by Postal Areas, Australia 2011
Dwellings by Postal Areas, Australia 2011
Selected Averages by Postal Areas, Australia 2011

Proportions of females to males by Postal Area, 2011

And you can experience the full in-map analytical capabilities and create private maps by subscribing to the Thematic Mapper app for 30 days for just a U$100 (thereafter, any maps you create can be viewed with free Thematic Mapper Basic app). 

Learn how to create a map by following these few simple steps (login required): How to create maps with coloured polygons in Thematic Mapper

Get the tools ready! Brash up on map making skills and start analysing the data for better decisions!

Your invitation code to create a free account is: c3df6244

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dissecting Australian Property Investors

Is Sydney the epicentre of property speculation in Australia? ATO data provides a surprising answer…

A lot has been said about Sydney property investors in recent years, mostly in derogatory terms. Commentators usually criticise their financial irresponsibility, or even sheer madness, for “piling into the residential property market with excessive leverage” - something which is said to inevitably end badly for each and every one of them. But are these opinions justified?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) data summary of 2013-14 individual tax returns for postcodes, the latest available, paints a surprisingly different picture.

In particular, it is true that property investment is quite popular amongst Sydneysiders. This is clearly illustrated on the following map - purple shaded polygons mark postcodes with the above average proportions of property investors amongst the residents, comparing to figures for Australia as the whole.

Postcodes with the above average proportions of property investors, 2013-14
Source: Australian Investor Profiles by

However, the big surprise revealed in the ATO data is that a significant proportion of Sydney-based property investors are actually netting hard cash from renting out residential properties. That is, their residential property portfolios are not negatively geared at all!

The following map points out postcodes in the Greater Sydney area with a positive average net rental income per investor. There are quite a few of them. So, it turns out, Sydney-based property investors are not leveraged to the hilt en masse as is commonly assumed.

Postcodes with a positive average net rental income per investor, 2013-14
Source: Australian Investor Profiles by

There are actually only a handful of postcodes in Greater Sydney with residents who very aggressively gear their investment property portfolios. That is, postcodes which have above average proportions of property investors, and where residents report rental losses at above the national average level. These are marked on the following map as areas with red background.

Property investors by Postcode 2013-14
Source: Australian Investor Profiles by

And of those, there are only six postcodes where 6,268 property investors (out of the total of 2,672,004 taxpayers counted in the Greater Sydney area) potentially fit the common stereotype of a property speculator. That is, property investors residing in these postcodes invest in rental properties in above average proportions comparing to the national average and have no or very limited other investments (i.e. are categorised as “Property Centric” investors). AND, at the same time, they are also highly leveraged (i.e. report above average rental losses to the ATO).

These are postcodes 2745, 2768, 2769, 2171, 2173 and 2231 - marked on the map as red polygons with black horizontal stripes.

Concluding, it is very unlikely that things have changed dramatically in the last two and a half years. So claims of irresponsible, mass scale residential property speculation by Sydneysiders are rather exaggerated. In fact, it appears that quite the opposite is true.

Only aggregated data is available for analysis, nevertheless, it suggests that large proportions of Sydney-based taxpayers are playing very safely with residential property investments and are generally diversified into several investment classes, including shares, cash and equivalent.

A full set of ATO statistics for postcodes, with extended investor profile information, has been published by and is accessible online.


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MapDeck empowers individuals and organisations to make better choices and more informed decisions. By providing easy access to a wealth of statistical information and simple to use location intelligence tools we help our clients in reaching their goals sooner, succeeding faster and on a grander scale.

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