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Too many still locked out of affordable housing

Apr 21, 2016, 00:05 AM by Anglicare Australia

“For seven years now, Anglicare Australia has provided national statistics that clearly show low income earners are unable to afford to rent privately, and even more Australians are being pushed out of the housing market,” Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers, said today after releasing the 2016 Rental Affordability Snapshot.

“What is different about this year’s report is the context. We have the opportunity to put housing affordability front and centre of the upcoming election debate. We call on all political players to present a clear plan to address the cost of housing in this country.

“Now, more than ever, we need a national plan for affordable housing. We need to recalibrate our tax system, increase the supply of affordable housing to match people’s needs, and increase and renew social housing stock.

“Over the first weekend in April, the Anglicare member network surveyed 75,410 rental properties across Australia and found just 21 properties were affordable for single adults living on Newstart, and only one was suitable for young people living on Youth Allowance. And despite the higher level of pensions compared to allowances, affordable rentals were extremely limited for a single person living on any government payment.

“We found a single person (with two children) living on minimum wage would have access to 4.7% of the listed rentals (3,526 properties), while the same family on Parenting Payment Single would have access to only 1.0% (780 properties).

“Households with dual incomes naturally fare better in rental affordability, but there is clear demarcation between those living on the minimum wage and those on income support payments. Of the 75,410 private rental properties, households (with two children) on Newstart could access only 1.9% of the listings (1,457 properties), and a couple on the Age Pension could access 4.3% (3,253).

“Single people in regional areas are particularly hard hit by housing unaffordability. Of the 18,103 properties analysed, there were no properties suitable for a single person on Youth Allowance. There were only 15 properties for singles on Newstart and 164 properties for a single parent on Newstart. This is not just in one state; it is across Australia.

“Metropolitan areas have seen the greatest population growth over the last decade, adding extra pressure on housing supply. Single income households on government payments have no chance of living in an employment rich environment.

“A single household (with one child) living on Newstart had access to only 17 of the 57,307 rentals available. The same household on parenting payment would do slightly better with 48 suitable properties, and a single parent (with two children) on parenting payment could access 74 private rentals.

“There is an intricate interconnection between having a stable home, a secure job, and good physical and mental health. If you are not able to afford a home for any length of time, it can place a huge stress on family relationships, and affect childhood development and education, all of which are important factors leading to a healthy sense of belonging and meaningful participation in the community.

“The severe financial hardship associated with meeting the cost of rental accommodation leaves many families on low income needing to choose between basic necessities such as paying bills, buying food, seeing a doctor, or paying the rent.
“Because we are committed to listening and acting on the experiences of our clients, addressing the lack of affordable housing continues to be a key priority of Anglicare organisations.”