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Anglicare Australia releases Rental Affordability Update: Rental affordability crashes since March

Sep 1, 2020, 00:01 AM by Maiy Azize

Anglicare Australia is calling on the government to raise the rate of welfare payments for good. The call is made as Anglicare Australia releases a special mid-year update to its Rental Affordability Snapshot.

The Snapshot Update surveyed almost 77,000 rental listings across Australia in August. It found that affordability for people on low incomes has actually deteriorated since March.

The Snapshot shows that:
- 808 rentals across Australia (1%) are affordable for a person on the new JobSeeker payment, which has been doubled for six months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If the government cuts JobSeeker by $150 in September, 168 rentals (0.2%) would be affordable.
- If the government cuts JobSeeker to its old rate in December, just 13 rentals (0%) would be affordable.
- Pensioners and people with disability have been left behind with no increase to their payments
- 0.8% of rentals (625 out of 76,962) are affordable for a person on the Age Pension
- 0.3% of rentals (192 out of 76,962) are affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said that many renters are now out of work, and the new rate of JobSeeker is the only thing keeping a roof over their head.

“For people on the lowest incomes, rentals are even less affordable than they were back in March,” Ms Chambers said.

“Most of the price drops are at the higher end of the market. At the same time, more and more people are competing for cheap housing. That’s squeezing out people of the market. With 1.6 million people locked out of work, the new rate of JobSeeker is the only thing keeping them afloat.

“Our Snapshot update shows that a person who is out of work can afford just 1% of rentals – and that’s with payments doubled. If JobSeeker is slashed to the old rate, just 13 rentals (0%) across Australia would be affordable.

Ms Chambers said that more must be done to help people on the lowest incomes.

“Rent deferrals and eviction moratoriums are ending soon, and some people are in arrears for thousands of dollars. Many are facing cuts to JobSeeker at the same time. This is a ticking time bomb.

“We must raise the rate of these payments for good. If the Government goes ahead with planned cuts – and if age and disability pensioners are left out – renters will be pushed deeper into poverty and homelessness.

“We also need to invest in homes for people who need them most. Our shortfall is massive. We need 500,000 new social and affordable rentals across Australia. 

“Investing in housing would be the most powerful way to tackle the rental crisis – and boost our economy.

“We’re calling on the government to end this shortfall – and ensure everyone has a place to call home,” Ms Chambers said.

The Rental Affordability Update can be downloaded here. The results can be viewed at www.anglicare-ras.com.