Rising city rental costs are forcing pensioners to move

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According to new research from National Shelter’s latest Rental Affordability Index, rising rent prices within Australian cities are forcing Australian pensioners to reconsider where they live.

Single pensioners are having to pay more than 60 per cent of their income to rent within, or close to, the city centre, while couples are having to spend between 38 per cent and 68 per cent of their income.

“Too often we hear stories of age pensioners who are left to choose between using the last of their income to buy food or medication once they have met their obligations for rent and utilities,” said Ian Yates, COTA Australia Chief Executive.

“While we have welcomed the initiatives announced in the recent Federal Budget to alleviate some of the pressure, such as greater investment in community housing, and incentives to increase supply, more needs to be done to support struggling pensioners,” he said

If rental price trends continue within the inner suburbs, it’s only a matter of time before pensioners renting in these areas are forced to leave suburbs that they have called home for decades. The disruption and distress caused by this sudden change of environment and the move away from friendship and support networks could be devastating to their everyday lives.

Are you currently living on a pension and renting within an Australian city? Are you finding it difficult to pay the rent and your other everyday expenses? Are you considering moving to cheaper accommodation in order to make ends meet?

View the Rental Affordability Index interactive map
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63 Comments

Total Comments: 63
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    It is true. I myself looking for a cheaper place. As its not possible to afford the place where I am in at the moment. I might have breakfast twice a week, I do not have lunch and for tea I might have a roll with with salsa or something like that otherwise one of those food boxes you can get for $2.98 to $3.40 as everything has gone up. Pension might have gone up $12.80 and that is with rent assistance. But everyting else like rent,electricity,gas and water +groceries and medication it is getting more and more impossible to survive. Maybe the government should think of buying some blocks of land or old caravan parks and build some housing for the elderlies….It is worth thinking about….Thank you….

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      The article is a bit short on detail Bribri.
      It’s not just rents, which have not risen much over the past 2 years unless I am in the wrong location in Sydney. It is the addition of all the other costs.
      We have only recently returned from an extended stay in France and the first thing that hit us was the increase in the cost of food. Not just one item but many and not just a couple of percent but in excess of 10%.
      Then add on rates and ‘special levies’ which are added on top of rates, government charges, cost of contractors, and so many other smaller items.
      The issue is not just housing. It is that Australians are being short changes whilst their wages and returns on retirement investments go nowhere. These things hit 90% of Australians but the top has been powering ahead with salary increases so do not feel the pain.

      I think you need to reconsider what is happening Drew. Certainly renters are doing it tough but owner occupiers are also struggling. And then we have a government coming after retirees and wanting then to sell and live off the proceeds, the mindset of rich man’s governments. Let’s give the rich a tax cut on top of that too……

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      yes they should Bribri, i was saying that a long time ago. but they stopped building them for the elderly, which to me shows they don’t give a bugger about us!
      Of course they have sold off all the utilities, all the prices are UP because of this, most of everything is Sub leased, and we are making up for the money needed to pay everything off, making us worse off.
      then Telstra too ripping us off. and they have gone off shore, I don’t even make ONE call on the telstra line, but they have the cheek to charge me a good 25 bucks every month?
      what gives ?

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      Mick i don’t know why they are charging us more for food, its mostly coming in from overseas, or so i’m told, and this was supposed to make it cheaper i thought.
      NO i’m sure they are feeling the pinch the world over, but the top end are doing it fine.
      NO decent places for singles to live in, and the rents gone UP on all the dumps, and they are only building for youngsters, you know you have to climb the stairs to the bedroom, bad luck if you can’t climb the stairs anymore hey!
      And now they putting more ppl in for the big block of land they used to sell once upon a time. IT really sucks. And if you want to go live in the country, Well here’s a surprise for you, cause they putting UP rents in the country too. And only if your a family can you get a decent place to live in. ITs all gone to POT!
      YEH NOT impressed really
      And perhaps the REal estate MOgrels have something to do with that yeh?

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      Mick i don’t know why they are charging us more for food, its mostly coming in from overseas, or so i’m told, and this was supposed to make it cheaper i thought.
      NO i’m sure they are feeling the pinch the world over, but the top end are doing it fine.
      NO decent places for singles to live in, and the rents gone UP on all the dumps, and they are only building for youngsters, you know you have to climb the stairs to the bedroom, bad luck if you can’t climb the stairs anymore hey!
      And now they putting more ppl in for the big block of land they used to sell once upon a time. IT really sucks. And if you want to go live in the country, Well here’s a surprise for you, cause they putting UP rents in the country too. And only if your a family can you get a decent place to live in. ITs all gone to POT!
      YEH NOT impressed really
      And perhaps the REal estate MOgrels have something to do with that yeh?

  2. 0
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    Sire the pheasants have no bread
    Don’t worry we give them our “initiatives” and “incentives” to eat.

  3. 0
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    I gave up the notion of being able to afford rents in Sydney long before I retired. Now I am really enjoying a northerly Sea Change with occasional cultural forays back into the big smoke, increasingly by train and bus. Time is my friend now.

  4. 0
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    I gave up the notion of being able to afford rents in Sydney long before I retired. Now I am really enjoying a northerly Sea Change with occasional cultural forays back into the big smoke, increasingly by train and bus. Time is my friend now.

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      Good on you. Well done. You don’t always need to live in a major city for a quality lifestyle.
      We have often though along these lines but being fortunate enough to have a dream location how do we every get this again? So we stay put.

  5. 0
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    At present I share rental accomodation with my son. I would not be able to rent this place otherwise. In a year or so he is off and I will be on my own. I have no idea how I will be able to afford rent. It is a very daunting thought – one that scares the crap out of me……………

  6. 0
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    Currently I live in a suburb about 50k from Melbourne or 1hr in average by train when they run OK. I still drive however it is becoming more and more hard to spend hours driving. Painful, literally. I still pay a reasonable rent but I am afraid that I will have to move away very soon.

    I do not feel I am living in a “lucky country” anymore…

  7. 0
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    I live 160 Km from Sydney and a 3 bedroom house rental is $700 p.w. – good luck with that escape.
    Probably best to head north to Qld or south to Tasmania. Too bad about family and friends.

    • 0
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      I’m fortunate enough to live far enough out of Sydney to make renting reasonable – I can get a five bedroom waterfront place here for $370 a week… if the ex and I decided to sell off this house and down-size and put a few dollars in the bank.

      I would miss my gardens though – right now I’m putting in more trees for fruit etc… somebody’s bonus in the future… free bananas, mangoes, passion fruit, lemons, limes, grapes…. it’s hard… the pre-school across the lane can have the excess…

    • 0
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      Ahhhhh……. the garden. Come on in spinner.
      The only reason I would ever move from the current enchanted location is to get a bigger block of (quality) dirt. But then is that a wise I idea as it is getting tough enough to get into the yard now? And the effort which goes into establishing a paradise is not exactly minimal.
      Damned if you , damned if you don’t. Wish I were 30 again. Don’t we all.

    • 0
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      Trust me – doing the gardens with almost perpetual chest pressure and pain is not easy – but.. well.. the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…

  8. 0
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    Soon it will be the Night and Fog Express running them to the New Territories for ‘re-settlement’…. it’s no secret why Gladys The Jackal bought all those new carriages that don’t fit – they were never intended to go anywhere but to sidings where Arbeit Mach Frei…

    Don’t forget to mention the rising crime and the constant pressure on older people to ‘down-size’ and try to secure a little stability in their home life before Big Bro Guv comes along and evicts them to generate market forces in housing sales…

    Boiling frogs by slowly applying the emotional and economic pressure works every time…

    • 0
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      I agree with your last line. Entire suburbs in Sydney have changed nationality in the last twenty years. Quietly people move away – nothing is said – they just go. It is an amazing country of change without anyone even saying a word.
      Its easy to push the oldies out through denial of service in shops due to a language barrier and even a lack of appropriate shops.
      Now the government is pushing to financially move them out. Even young families are being pushed out of my country town by wealthy retirees.
      All because there is an under supply of homes.

    • 0
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      Years ago my mother lived in La’emba (glottal stop included), near Bankistan and Roselandistan (where they shoot people in their driveways regularly) – even then – in the mid 1970’s – the locals were being quietly hounded out by – guess who – Middle Easterners, who brought a high crime rate and were as ill-mannered as pigs in the streets and on the footpaths, often walking in family groups right across the footpath and forcing everyone else out of the way.

    • 0
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      Only because retirees disengage from forming a VOTING BLOCK to bring the bastards to their knees. There’s a lot of us you know.

  9. 0
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    Nearly a year ago I had to move about 1000km from Brisbane to a regional area where I don’t know a single person for accommodation that I could afford after Dept Housing pointed out to me that is what they are telling people is their only option because they have no housing available for about 10 years or more. But I have a medical condition that requires specialist treatment and I no longer have access to that because I am too far from any hospital that provides that. I have also been told I need surgery but I have no way of accessing that because there is no hospital where I am that provides that kind of surgery.

    In the absence of affordable housing in metro areas so pensioners can access the services that they need, the only answer is an increase in pension payments, at least for people who do not have the assets to be able to afford suitable accommodation. We all know that the Govt doesn’t care because they are alright Jack – but people in my situation have to fight for everything so one thing that people could do is to at least have a look at signing a petition that a man has started to compel the Govt for a suitable pension increase. Here is the link but the link doesn’t work to click on it but if you copy an paste it in your browser the petition will come up:

    https://www.change.org/p/lift-the-age-pension-above-the-poverty-line

    • 0
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      Sorry to hear that Cat. – Surely they could have found one near a larger country city for you?
      I think they deliberately made life difficult for you – there are better options than that.

    • 0
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      I do not want to appear to be making a value judgement Cat but most people struggle to own a house to avoid the exact situation you are facing. When in that situation you lose control of your life and are at the mercy of markets. Not pretty when they turn against you. Sorry you are unhappy and hope things improve for you.

    • 0
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      Cat – at age 62, I moved to a country town 600kms from a capital city. Had to have 3 things – airport with one flight to city, hospital, and govt infrastructure. Firstly, I have not been out of work since, where as before in the city, could not even get a job as a cleaner. I am now nearly 65, and my casual govt job has just been made permanent. I rent a nice 3br house for $180 a week. I fill up my car with petrol every 6 weeks – so the money I save in petrol pays for any flights I need to go back to city. I have a far better social life here – benefits are I can go out, and either walk or get a cab – most it will cost is $15. Volunteer with 3 local groups, and is great not having to drive miles to get to places – drive more than 5 minutes and you are on the other side of town. Only one set of traffic lights! Only next week need to have a small procedure in local hospital – going private, and do not have to pay any gap or excess. I do still have my house in city, but had I stayed there, and not being able to get a job, I would have soon lost it, and had to go back renting. At least this way, I have a hope of keeping it. Can rent it out to cover the mortgage, pay cheap rent here, and save like mad to pay of my house for when I do retire. There is not a hope in billy-o of the govt increasing pension to a sustainable level, so I had to look to the best way to survive. I hope to work for at least another 4-5 years (body, health and brain willing!!) when I will go back to my house. But heading rural CAN be a great way to survive. I’ve met quite a few people who have done similar and it’s proved to be their way to financial security and sanity.

  10. 0
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    I’m 66 and rent a two bedroom townhouse on/near the Gold Coast. The rent exceeds the pension and attachments. I have a small side income declared from driving a Limo several times a week, which affords me some money to exist on. But I am sadly going backwards, week by week, unable to even fund a removal of stuff to somewhere cheaper. The anxiety and depression gets worse by the month, and the Limo business (like Taxis) has been wiped out by Uber ! An unlicensed and uninsured transport operation wrecking family businesses by people who already have a full time or part time job, or who are already on Newstart or other Centrelink benefits without declaring the Uber money. Another can of Heinz $2 spaghetti tonight for me. !!! One in Three pensioners are still below the poverty line.

    • 0
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      Disgraceful, Biggles…

    • 0
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      Not a good look….though undoubtedly true, and reflective of a larger pensioner grouping. Have you ever thought of teaming up with another mature aged person….strictly platonic – if a woman, as a means of halving the biggest impost of all …the Rent and Utilities. Wish you all the best.

    • 0
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      Technology sometimes sucks. The only good side is that people avoid getting into a cab with a foreign driver who is rude, objectionable and stinks. And then there is the cost of the cab as well.

    • 0
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      “The taxi business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There is also a negative side…”

      – Dr Hunter S Thompson (he said ‘television’ not ‘taxi’… but… oh, well…)

    • 0
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      @Trebor….I liked that….
      ever heard or read it before….

    • 0
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      I write books sometimes, and as a result I collect quotable quotes…

      Read Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas’ – the book out-does the Johnny Depp movie by a country mile…

    • 0
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      Uber quote: ‘All taxi drivers are equal. It’s just that some are more equal then others…’. Lost on all but those who understand methinks……no, not Thursdy night insanity.

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