Renting getting harder for low income families

Adam Smith 22 April 2016

rentRenting is becoming less affordable for low income families in the Sydney area.

Fewer than 1% of the rental homes in the Sydney region are affordable for low income households, a new report has found.

New research from Anglicare has reviewed approximately 15,000 rental properties in the Greater Sydney and Illawarra region, and found that of the 14,774 properties advertised only 76 were affordable and appropriate for households on income support payments.

“Rental affordability in Greater Sydney for low income households has been consistently low for the past four years, hovering at less than 1%. This year our Snapshot reveals that it has decreased in the Illawarra Region also,” Anglicare Sydney chief executive Grant Millard said.

Millard said low income earners were pushed into rental stress when they were forced to pay 30% or more of their income in rent.

"We've seen people trying to survive on $20 for a week after the weekly rent and bills have been deducted.  Some are on the verge of homelessness," he said.

The report showed declining affordability in the Illawarra region particularly. Affordability for low income families fell from 3% in 2015 to around 1% this year. Anglicare said the data coincides with research from Housing NSW that found the median cost of renting a two bedroom property in the region had risen above the NSW median increase.

Affordable rentals scarce

Out of nearly 15,000 properties surveyed, Anglicare found only:

* 14 properties for singles on the Aged Pension
* 12 properties for couples with two children on Newstart Allowance
* Three properties for single parents with two children on the Parenting Payment
* Two properties for single parents with one child on the Parenting Payment.

“If people on low incomes are to build a future for themselves and their family they need to access affordable housing.  We welcome the State Government’s commitment to 23,500 new and replacement properties over the next 10 years. However, it’s estimated that only 9,000 of these will be additional, new dwellings. We urge all levels of government to agree to a five year plan with numerical targets to increase the supply of social housing in NSW, and commit to at least 20,000 additional new social housing dwellings by 2025,” Millard said.

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