The Rental Affordability Snapshot is designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing while on a low income. It focuses on the Australian population who earn the least income – Commonwealth benefit recipients and minimum wage earners.
This is Anglicare Australia’s tenth Rental Affordability Snapshot. And after ten years, it is clear that the Australian dream – a place to call home – has become a nightmare for many renters. This year’s Snapshot surveyed over 69,000 private rental listings across the country over one sample weekend. Once again, we found a dire crisis for people on the lowest incomes.
We found that no properties in any capital city were affordable for a single person on Youth Allowance or Newstart. In fact, there were only two properties across the entire country that were affordable for people
on these payments.
This year’s Snapshot looks at older people who are stuck in expensive and insecure rentals – at a time in life when stability is more important than ever.
The most generous of government benefits is the Age Pension, and we have made it a major focus of this year’s report. Yet for a couple on the aged pension, only three percent of rentals were affordable. Single
pensioners have it even worse, with less than one percent of listings left to compete for.
Working people are hardly better off. A single person working full-time on the minimum wage will find that only two percent of rentals are affordable.
Of course, this Snapshot doesn’t tell the whole story. We look at the fulltime minimum wage, but we know that more and more Australians are working casually. Around one million are underemployed. Their plight is likely to be much worse than this Snapshot shows.
Nor can the Snapshot consider the competition for each of these properties. In an overheated market, an affordable property can attract dozens of applications.
So how do people manage? For too many people, paying the rent means they can’t afford to eat decent food, fill a prescription, pay for transport, or buy clothes. Anglicare Australia members see their clients facing these impossible decisions.
Unfortunately, this balancing act can only go on for so long. It can come to a crashing end when an unexpected bill comes in or when the rent increases. For these people the car, a friend’s sofa, a homelessness
service, or even a tent in a squat becomes home…
SOURCE: Kasy Chambers. “Rental Affordability Snapshot.” Anglicare Australia, April 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia