‘Worst ever’: Low-income earners hit by soaring rents

An acute shortage of available properties continues to push rents higher.

An acute shortage of available properties continues to push rents higher. Photo: TND

The Australian dream of owning your own home is being “crushed” by rising rents and over-inflated house prices, a new report finds.

After reviewing more than 45,000 rental listings, Anglicare Australia’s rental affordability report has declared the market the worst it has ever been.

“This is not hyperbole,” the report released on Tuesday said.

“This is Australia’s new normal.

“The impossible choice between unattainable ownership and unaffordable rents is crushing any hope of a safe and secure place to call home.”

The annual report uses thousands of rental property listings on on a weekend in March or April to compile a snapshot of the rental market across the country.

The report says the national vacancy rate has hit an all-time low of 0.7 per cent while average rents are $200 per week more than pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

The Anglicare report comes as the federal government plans to debate key housing affordability reforms in parliament, with the Greens and the coalition indicating they will oppose them.

The report said federal subsidies for the private rental market were driving inequity.

“We have watched as governments of all stripes have walked away from public housing and turned to the private market to deliver housing,” it said.

“Solutions aimed at propping up private investors, like Commonwealth Rent Assistance and negative gearing, have become the preferred housing policy of governments.”

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said only 289 of the 45,000 homes listed were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage.

“We’ve never seen such bad results for people on the minimum wage, with affordability halving for a single person in the last two years,” she said.

“Even couples with both partners working full-time are locked out of nearly 90 per cent of rentals.”

Chambers said people on Centrelink payments were being pushed out of housing.

“A person on the age or disability support pensions can afford less than one per cent of rentals,” she said.

“For a person out of work, it’s zero per cent – and that includes the highest rate of rent assistance.”

Australian Council of Social Services chief executive Cassandra Goldie again called for increases to Jobseeker payments.

“It is wrong for one of the world’s wealthiest nations to continue condemning people on low incomes to poverty,” she said.

“People on the lowest incomes need help the most and the government must not leave them behind in the upcoming federal budget.”

The snapshot reviewed 45,115 rental listings across Australia and found that:

  • 289 were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage
  • 89 were affordable for a person on the Age Pension
  • 31 were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
  • Three were affordable for a person on JobSeeker and all were share houses
  • No one on Youth Allowance could afford a rental.


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