Revealed: Australia's worst electorates for rental stress

A seat-by-seat analysis of housing affordability throughout Australia has revealed the 20 electorates with the highest rental stress.

Researchers compared rents and incomes across electorates to identify the number of households in rental stress. Analysis of this data revealed that western Sydney, the NSW north coast and south-eastern Queensland are where Australian renters are doing it toughest.

Rental stress refers to households with an income in the bottom 40 per cent of Australia’s income distribution, those who are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in housing costs.

Research conducted by the University of NSW for the Everybody’s Home campaign shows that rental stress is highest in outer suburban and regional seats, which are seen as traditionally affordable areas. The analysis shatters the myth that housing affordability is an issue only in inner Sydney and Melbourne.

“The data shows that housing affordability is just not an inner city phenomenon experienced by millennials. In fact, the traditionally affordable areas of western Sydney, and regional NSW and Queensland have more renters doing it tough than anywhere else in the country,” said National Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson, Kate Colvin.

“Marginal regional seats, such as Richmond on the NSW north coast and Gilmore on the NSW south coast, have the highest rates of low income earners struggling in the private rental market – which should be a wake-up call to all parties that they can’t afford to ignore housing as an issue.

“The data also shows that rental stress is being felt acutely in traditionally affordable outer suburban seats, such as Kingston in Adelaide, Calwell in Melbourne’s north, Braddon in Tasmania, and Burt in Perth’s south east.

“While rents in inner city seats in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are high, the comparatively higher incomes of inner city renters allow them to better absorb housing costs.”

Ms Colvin believes that almost 811,000 Australian households in rental stress are being overlooked by governments at all levels.

“Research by the Australian Housing and Research Institute (AHURI) clearly shows that up-front investment in social and affordable housing is the most effective way to improve rental affordability and ensure there is enough affordable rental housing for low-paid workers as our population grows,” she said.

“Housing is the single biggest cost-of-living item for almost every Australian household. This election, we need all parties to announce real policies that show they’re taking the issue seriously.”

Do you live in any of these suburbs? Are you surprised that typically affordable suburbs are where the highest rental stress is being felt?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?
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