Affordability elusive for low income earners

by Adam Smith30 Apr 2012

Low income Australians are out of luck in capital city rental markets, with few affordable options available.

An Anglicare study has found rental affordability is elusive for Australians on low incomes. The agency's Rental Affordability Snapshot has indicated that many capital cities have no private rentals within the reach for people on a single income, aged care pension or NewStart allowances.

"What the Snapshot shows is that people on the minimum wage need two incomes to rent a house. In many places even that is not enough. And for those trapped on the NewStart, supporting parent or youth allowance there is absolutely nothing suitable available at all," Anglicare executive directr Kasy Chambers said.

Chambers said many capital cities provided few options for single income earners.

"In Perth, there is absolutely nothing available for anyone on a single income, and these results are largely replicated across all our capital cities. In our largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, with over 20,000 properties advertised between them less than 40 properties were considered suitable across all of the household types," Chambers said.

Regional Australia did not fare much better in the survey. Chambers pointed to some of the results, indicating only 2% of available properties in the NSW Southern Tablelands would be within the reach of a single parent on minimum wage, while only 6% of properties available in Gladstone would suit a family of four low income earners.

"Anglicare's Snapshot gives an insight into the experience of housing stress, makes it clear how distant safe and secure housing is for hundreds of thousands, even millions, of Australians, and raises the question of why it isn't a true national priority," Chambers said.