Market squeeze locking out renters

Anglicare has released its annual, Rental Affordability Snapshot (RAS) report that reveals low-income renters are being pushed out of the market, with available properties either unaffordable or unsuitable.

The report, which uses rental-listing data from realestate.com.au. has found that for those single and on the Age Pension, there were only 1097 properties that were affordable and appropriate to rent. Couples fared a little better, with 2897 properties that they could both afford and that were suitable. However, it is worth noting that the location of these properties may render them impractical for many renters searching for accommodation.

As well as detailing national rental affordability, the report is also borken down into states and territories and highlights the disparity between metropolitant and regional rental availability. for example, in Metropolitan Melbourne, it was found that for those single and on the Age Pension, only 13 properties were affordable and appropriate, while for couples that number rose to 65. Regional Victoria had a greater number but, of course, spread over a greater geographical area. Those single on the Age Pension could have access to 67 affordable and accessible properties, while couples could access 332.

The report also notes that, over the last year, there has been a considerable decline in the number of rental properties on the market, which could signal a distinct move from homeownership to long-term renting among middle-income earners. If this is indeed the case and the trend continues, it could make it even more difficult for those on low incomes to secure rental properties.

The report calls for a significant investment in social housing, with all levels of government called on to consider alternative and creative solutions to the housing affordability crisis.

As we know from YourLifeChoices Retirement Affordability Index, a whopping 29 per cent of the income of a single renter on an Age Pension will go on paying rent. This compares to 22 per cent for couples on an Age Pension who rent, and is just under the 30 per cent threshold where housing stress kicks in.

The knock-on effect is perhaps more concerning, with singles on the Age Pension who rent spending only six per cent of their income on health – from whihc we can deduce means missed doctors appointments and deferring essential health treatment.

You can download the Anglicare Australia report at anglicare.asn.au

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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