Anglicare North Coast has released the findings of our annual survey of rental affordability.
The Snapshot surveyed rental listings across the North Coast and found that there is still a chronic shortage of affordable rentals – even after recent welfare increases. Compared to previous years, the number of properties available rent has plummeted in 2021, from almost 1000 last year to just 354 this year.
The Snapshot shows that:
· just 8 properties (1%) offered for rent were affordable for an aged pensioner couple.
· No properties were found to be affordable for single parents on parenting payment, or anyone on Jobseeker or Youth Allowance.
· Just 2 properties were affordable for people on Disability Support Pension.
· About 20%of properties would be affordable for a couple with children on minimum age.
Anglicare North Coast’s Chief Executive Officer Leon Ankersmit said the reduction of the coronavirus supplement, and the end of Jobkeeper payments had struck the region that is still reeling from
bushfires, Covid-19, and recent flooding. But the main issue is a lack of sufficient affordable housing supply, and an inadequate welfare safety net for households that are struggling.
“The market for rental properties has tightened a lot as we can see with the vastly reduced number of available properties” Dr Ankersmit
said. “The effect of this lack of supply is that prices are driven up, making housing less affordable for more people.”
“The households that are struggling to keep a roof over their heads now includes those families who are surviving on minimum wages, who may have to juggle multiple casual jobs to keep food on the
table and pay the bills. Those people provide essential services in our local economies, yet we cannot provide them with a place to live that is affordable and which offers some quality of life.”
Anglicare, along with other front-line welfare agencies, has seen first-hand how the increase of payments to households during 2020 in response to Covid-19 offered much needed financial relief.
Now, with the removal of the supplements and Jobkeeper, many households are placed in an impossible situation where they cannot afford to pay the rent.
“We would like the state and federal governments to provide immediate solutions to the current crisis in the form of increased subsidies to households for rent assistance. We acknowledge that rent
assistance is not ideal as a solution, but it is no longer adequate to merely talk about the construction of more social housing when we literally have households living in their cars or in tents.
The time for talk is over- we need to see action.”
The local Rental Affordability Snapshot report can be downloaded from www.anglicarenorthcoast.org.au
The full report for rental affordability in Australia is available from www.anglicare-ras.com