Data released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) shows 2.1 million Australians own a rental property.

The number declaring a net rental loss to the ATO has declined over the past four years, mainly due to lower mortgage rates.

The figures show that property investment in Australia is mainly within reach for Mum and Dad investors, with 71% of landlords owning a solitary investment property. More than 90% of investors own either one or two rental properties.

A broad range of people use negative gearing, including 796,000 with a taxable income of under $80,000, and about 495,200 with a taxable income of above $80,000.

The beneficiaries of negative gearing are often in the younger cohorts, with the net rental profits tending to swell later in life.

Similarly, the size of net rental profits typically increases for the older cohorts as they move into their retirement years.

In terms of Federal Budget repair, the ATO recorded only a small change in net rental losses from the $3.6 billion notched in the preceding tax year.

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