Canberra, Perth and Sydney renters at the mercy of a dysfunctional property market as rents rise. AGAIN.
Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) said new figures showing rent rises well above inflation in Canberra, Perth and Sydney in the December 2011 quarter show that despite low or no growth in house prices, Australia has a housing crisis that is negatively impacting on low and middle income earners.
“Once again our nation’s capital tops the table with their already high rents rising 6.4% in 2011 while Perth at 5.3% and Sydney at 4.2% aren’t far behind. Once again renters are being squeezed by the housing affordability crisis”, said AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey responding to figures from Australian Property Monitors and published in today’s Australian.
“Despite what many commentators call an ‘easing’ in housing affordability, these figures show that if we leave it to the market rents will continue to rise and tenants will continue to suffer record rates of housing stress.
Housing stress figures commissioned from NATSEM by Australians for Affordable Housing show that rates of housing stress for renters are double those with a mortgage.
“When more than a quarter of private renters are already in housing stress I worry deeply about their capacity to afford rent increases the size of which we’ve seen in the last year.
For low income households, these rent increase mean having to move or struggling to put food on the table, for middle income households it makes saving for a deposit harder, putting the dream of home ownership further out of reach,” said Sarah Toohey.
“We must see action from Governments in 2012 to make housing more affordable and we will be holding Governments to account to ensure that they do.”
Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au
Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989
Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004
Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed
The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to cut interest rates by 0.25% to 4.25% is welcome news for the 36% of Australian households with a mortgage, however it won’t do much for the 29% of households who are renting, or the 32% who own their home outright.
AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey said that the interest rate decision wouldn’t help those striving to buy a home either.
“Mortgage repayments are a function of interest rates and how much people have to borrow, so interest rates are only half the picture. The fact is that people have to borrow more just to get into the housing market. Governments need to look at the structural problems that drive up house prices.” said Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey.
“According to data from the Reserve Bank of Australia, households are paying more of their income on housing interest payments now than they were back when interest rates were at 17%. That’s because households have had to borrow more to get into the housing market”.
The extent of housing stress across regional Victoria has today been revealed by Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH). Renters and home purchasers are struggling with high housing costs according to new modelling commissioned by AAH.
“Housing is the single biggest cost of living pressure in Australia. When low-income households spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs they are officially in housing stress. This means they have very little left over to cover other costs like food, transport, bills or money for emergencies”.
Mildura is the hardest hit, with close to 20 per cent of households experiencing housing stress, Sarah Toohey, AAH Campaign Manager announced today.
“Renters are doing it even tougher than those with a mortgage. More than 45 per cent of renters in Mount Alexandra, Central Goldfields and Hepburn are experiencing housing stress,” Ms Toohey said.
The State of Australian Cities 2011 report findings that show young people are staying in the family home or joining share houses shows just how unaffordable housing has become.
Housing must be considered as an important part of our infrastructure, and more supply in the low-cost rental market was imperative to improve housing affordability.