To coincide with the 2017 Rental Affordability Snapshot, we’re highlighting rental affordability across the Anglicare network.
Rental affordability in Darwin and the Northern Territory
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare NT
The Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot process has reinforced the importance of government policy interventions and the need for appropriate resources to address the housing affordability crisis in Northern Territory. Too many people within the Northern Territory who are reliant on some form of welfare payment are paying too large a percentage of their limited resources towards housing which often isn’t particularly appropriate for their needs and places extra stress on the household to maintain essential services such as electricity, water and purchasing fresh and healthy food.
Despite programs like the ‘head-leasing initiative’ funded by the Territory Government, there has not been significant progress to address the crisis of housing affordability in the Northern Territory. Policy interventions to counter the risks associated with housing stress could include further increasing the supply of affordable and appropriate housing across the Northern Territory as well as extending the National Rental Affordability Scheme with a focus on young people.
Failure to attract either government or private investment in affordable housing options in the Northern Territory will continue to place cost of living pressure on those who can least afford it and those who have the least housing options available to them.
Rental affordability in the Brisbane Metropolitan Area
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare Southern Queensland
The Queensland Government has recently completed state-wide consultations to inform a 10-year Housing Strategy. It is clear from the responses that there are barriers at every phase of the journey for those on low incomes. Queenslanders overwhelmingly identified the state’s stock of social housing as too low.
Anglicare SQ’s own findings through the Rental Affordability Snapshot demonstrate that almost all low income households need to spend far in excess of 30% of their weekly household income to rent from the Brisbane private rental market. The bridge into home ownership is clearly also a shaky one, with low income renters having limited capacity to save for a home deposit. People are locked out of the choice of home ownership and potentially into a long term rental poverty trap.
With projections for the Brisbane local government area to reach nearly 1.5 million people over the next 20 years, from a current population of 1.2 million, the issue of affordability will become ever more pressing. It requires urgent action at both state and federal level to ensure a real pathway to safe, secure and affordable housing.
Rental affordability in greater Sydney and the Illawarra
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare Sydney
The issue of rental affordability facing thousands of Greater Sydney and Illawarra residents requires an urgent and long-term commitment to improve affordability from all levels of government, community and business sectors.
All levels of government need to commit to long-term agreements such as the National Affordable Housing Agreement and the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, with strategies and funding commitment for at least five years. The Federal Government needs to work with all levels of government to commit to a formal five-year plan with numerical targets to increase the supply of social and affordable housing. Recipients of Newstart and Commonwealth Rent Assistance desperately need increased income support to help prevent them entering rental stress in the Greater Sydney and Illawarra area.
On a state level, attention must be directed to the social housing crisis. With over 60,000 approved applicants for social housing waiting on the NSW Housing Register and many low income households in extreme rental stress in the private rental market, immediate action must be taken to increase the supply and availability of social housing.
Rental affordability in Canberra and Queanbeyan
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare NSW South, West and ACT
At the Territory level, the ACT needs a whole of government commitment to address homelessness. Every government portfolio needs to recognise the effects of unaffordable housing, from financial stress and exclusion to crisis and homelessness, on every aspect of life for many Canberra families.
Housing supply continues to lag behind community demand, with the exception of some types of housing which do not closely match the needs of the community. Land release in greenfields developments must be accompanied by strong public transport links and infrastructure, and must include options for a range of household incomes. Creative reuse of existing built spaces is another option, provided it is appropriate.
Government investment in social housing and affordable housing options, as well as providing incentives for non-government investors to increase the supply of affordable housing, will be required to address the disparity between subsidised accommodation and the unaffordable private market. Bridging this gap will also enable a smoother transition for social housing tenants into the private market when appropriate, and provide options other than government housing for those in housing crisis.
Rental affordability in Victoria
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare Victoria
The Rental Affordability Snapshot continues to highlight that low income earners, particular those who rely on income support, are systematically excluded from the private rental market. The areas where rental properties are available and affordable within Metropolitan Melbourne are typically characterised by very high levels of social and economic disadvantage.
There continues to be regional versus urban divide, whereby low income earners have much greater access to appropriate and affordable housing in regional, rural and coastal areas of Victoria. Even so, the overall rental stock in these areas can be quite low resulting in potentially high competition for a scarce resource. As a result, low income earners in Victoria continue to be faced with a range of unacceptable choices, including paying more than they can afford and/or living in demonstrably inappropriate housing for their needs.
For the eight year in a row, this data points to the lack of action by successive state and federal governments to improve the housing outcomes of people on low incomes, and to the on-going need to invest in creative social and public housing solutions for those who need it most.
Rental affordability in Tasmania
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare Tasmania
With decreasing rental stock, increasing demand for that stock from a range of tenants and burgeoning tourist and investment economies potentially putting future demands on Tasmanian property, how do we ensure that the needs of low income households for affordable and stable accommodation does not get lost in the shifting dynamics of our three housing sectors – social and private rental and house purchasing?
Purposefully addressing housing affordability in Tasmania requires a refocus of federal and state housing policy goals towards creating homes for more households, as well as encouraging investments for wealth creation. We support the development of federal and state government policies that will deliver the policy goals of increasing the supply of appropriate housing and reducing competition within the private rental sector. Anglicare Tasmania recognises that to achieve these goals requires adjustments across three housing sectors – social housing, private sector rentals and house purchasing.
Anglicare Tasmania plans to further develop a range of state-based priorities for change in liaison with those who rent, those who support low income households to find homes, and those who provide private rental properties.
Rental affordability in Adelaide
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare SA
Over the eight years of the Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot, AnglicareSA has shown repeatedly that housing unaffordability is at crisis levels for people living on low incomes across the Adelaide area. Action must be taken with a coordinated, systemic and broad approach to addressing housing affordability.
The Commonwealth Government has acknowledged that reform is required in Australia’s housing market to increase social and affordable housing options, and it has proposed an aggregated bond model. We support this proposal as one component of a broader and more complex solution.
We call for a national plan for social and affordable housing, which prioritises growing the supply of social housing, reforming the tax system, and supplying a mix of housing that meets the different needs of people.
Rental affordability in Perth
This snapshot was provided by Anglicare WA
Consistent with previous years, this year’s Snapshot found a severe lack of housing options in WA for people on income support payments. With over 18,500 households on the waitlist for social housing with an average wait time of three years, most low income households must find somewhere to live in the private rental market.
Households with two parents working full-time fared better in this year’s Snapshot than in previous years. Falling rents, following the highs during the mining boom, have brought some relief to working families struggling to keep up with bills, although many working families continue to struggle to cover the cost of childcare to enable full time employment. But the slowing of the WA economy has also brought economic uncertainty to many working families. With growing rates of unemployment, under-employment and increased casualisation of the workforce, many WA households are in precarious financial circumstances.
Following years of inflated rents during the mining boom, Western Australia is seeing some marked improvements in rental affordability. Nevertheless, the situation remains dire for households on fixed incomes including pensioners, people with disability, job seekers and single parents. These households will continue to struggle unless rental accommodation becomes more affordable.