Get The Facts

Australia is in the grip of a housing crisis – with a broken housing system that prevents many people on low and moderate incomes from getting and keeping a roof over their head.

Everyone has the right to safe, secure and affordable housing. But right now,  Australia’s housing system is broken, with policies steering the system in the wrong direction, and preventing Australians and their families from getting, and keeping, a roof over their head.

Home ownership

The majority of Australians aspire to own their own home – but current policies are making home ownership a distant prospect for many young people and those on low incomes:

  • House prices are continuing to rise nationally; and average Australian house prices are already approximately 4-5 times the average annual household earnings.[1]
  • Tax breaks are fostering competition between investors and people who just want to own their own home – increasing competition for the same priorities, distorting the rental market and having a catastrophic impact on housing affordability.
  • Young people, low and middle income earners are now being pushed out of home ownership. The rate of home purchase among 25 to 44 year olds has declined 15 per cent in the last 20 years. [2]
  • Every year the Federal Government gives out $8 billion in tax breaks to property investors,[3] but we still have a housing system with high rents and low vacancy rates.


An increasing number of people are living in the private rental market long-term, often in unaffordable and insecure housing. Those renting homes are at the mercy of a system in which:

  • Rents are rising faster than incomes, and more people are now in housing stress.
  • High rents make it impossible for many people to save for a home deposit.
  • Capital city rents rose at twice the rate of inflation between 2005-2010. [4]
  • In 2011, Australia had a shortage of half-a-million affordable rental properties. [5]
  • Housing costs are rising so rapidly that 42% of households who need rental assistance are still classified as in ‘housing stress’ after Commonwealth Rent Assistance has been received.[6]

Public housing

Public housing provides secure, stable and affordable housing for over 300,000 Australians. It helps reduce pressure on the low cost end of the rental market and makes sure that people who may never be able to buy their own home have safe, secure and appropriate housing.

  • In 2011, there were still 173,000 Australians on public housing waitinglists. [7]
  • Between 1996 to 2007 the number of affordable public housing properties shrank by 32,000 while the population grew by 2.8 million people.
  • Australia’s share of social housing is low and declining by international comparison. [8]


Homelessness affects many people: women, young people, older people, families and singles.

  • On any given night over 105,000 people in Australia are homeless. [9]
  • 16,000 children are homeless in Australia.[10]
  • In 2013-2014 , 254,000 people received help from specialist homelessness services.
  • 58 per cent of people seeking accommodation in 2009-10 were turned away because services were unable to meet demand. [11]

Homelessness can happen for a number of reasons, including family violence, financial stress, and the housing crisis. Regardless of its cause, the fact is that there is a lack of safe, securely tenured, affordable and well located housing available to those who need it, when they need it.

Have you been impacted by these issues?

Is housing affordability an issue for you and your family? Share your concern below and join the campaign to achieve housing affordability for Australians.

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