Anglicare Raises Alarm Over Low-Income Earners Struggling with Soaring Rents and Over-Inflated House Prices

over-inflated house prices

A new report indicates that the Australian dream of homeownership is increasingly out of reach, exacerbated by skyrocketing rents and significantly inflated house prices. 

According to Anglicare over-inflated house prices and Australia’s rental affordability study, which analyzed over 45,000 rental listings, the current market conditions are the most challenging recorded. 

Released on a Tuesday, the report starkly notes that the situation is not exaggerated but reflects a new, troubling norm for Australians. 

It describes a distressing scenario where individuals are faced with a tough decision between unachievable homeownership and unaffordable rental options, eroding any prospect of securing a stable and safe home.

The annual snapshot of the over-inflated house prices in Australia, derived from analyzing thousands of property listings on during a weekend in March or April, reveals significant trends in the latest Anglicare report. It notes that the national vacancy rate has plummeted to a record low of 0.7 percent, with average rental prices now $200 higher per week than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

As this report surfaces, it coincides with impending parliamentary debates over crucial housing affordability reforms. Both the Greens and the coalition have signaled their opposition to these reforms.

The report criticizes federal subsidies for the private rental sector as exacerbating inequality. It observes a shift in government policy over the years, moving away from public housing to relying on the private sector for housing solutions. Programs like Commonwealth Rent Assistance and negative gearing are highlighted as government-preferred policies that primarily support private investors.

Kasy Chambers, the executive director of Anglicare Australia, pointed out that out of 45,000 listed homes, only 289 were affordable for individuals on a full-time minimum wage. She highlighted that affordability for single minimum wage earners has dropped significantly, halving over the past two years. Additionally, she noted that nearly 90% of rental properties are unaffordable for couples even if both partners are employed full-time.

Chambers also mentioned that those receiving Centrelink benefits are increasingly unable to afford housing, with less than one percent of rentals being affordable for individuals on age or disability support pensions. For those out of work, not a single rental was affordable, even when factoring in the highest rate of rent assistance.

Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Services, has reiterated her call for an increase in Jobseeker payments. She criticized the current economic challenges, stating it is unacceptable for a wealthy nation like Australia to leave people with low incomes in poverty. She urged the government to prioritize assistance for those with the lowest incomes in the upcoming federal budget.

Rental Affordability Key Findings

  1. General Affordability: The snapshot found that only a minuscule percentage of rentals are affordable for those on a full-time minimum wage. Specifically, out of 45,000 listings, only 289 were affordable for minimum wage earners.
  2. Impact on Low-Income Earners: Those on Centrelink payments, such as the age or disability support pensions, find less than one percent of the rental market accessible. For unemployed individuals, even with the highest rate of rent assistance, no rentals are affordable.
  3. Geographical Variations: The report could include data showing how rental affordability varies significantly across different regions, with some cities experiencing sharper declines in affordable housing options than others.
  4. Trends Over Time: The findings highlight a troubling trend of decreasing rental affordability over the years, exacerbated by economic and policy shifts.
  5. Government Policy Effects: The report criticizes current government policies for favoring private investors over low-income renters, mentioning programs like Commonwealth Rent Assistance and negative gearing as contributing to the problem.

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