Minimum wagers lack rental availability in Australia

According to Anglicare Australia, only 1% of private rental homes in Australia are within reach of full-time workers on the minimum wage. At the same time, recipients of Centrelink subsidies find it challenging to pay for rooms in share houses.

Only 45,895 listings were available nationwide, according to Anglicare’s annual snapshot of rental affordability, which was published on Thursday. This is the lowest number in the 14 years that Anglicare has produced the report. There were continuously more than 65,000 rental listings between 2018 and 2021.

The snapshot examines information from rental advertisements over a single weekend. It determines whether the properties would be within the means of various households, including single people making minimum wage or receiving the jobseeker stipend. According to the study, a reasonable rent should not account for more than 30% of a family’s income.

Only four rooms that too in share houses were affordable for someone receiving a jobseeker’s allowance out of all the examined listings.

A person on a disability assistance pension could afford 66 rentals, or 0.1% of the listings examined, and an older person could afford 162 rentals, or 0.4%.

Only 345 rental homes (0.8%), down from 720 (1.6%) last year, were deemed affordable for renters making the minimum wage, which was the worst result for this group in the snapshot’s history.

According to Kasy Chambers, executive director of Anglicare Australia, the decrease in affordability is startling.

“This year’s result is worst ever seen for a person on minimum wage, which says that they have affordability halving over the last year,” Chambers claimed.

“We’ve never seen large numbers that are affordable for people in the country on the lowest of Centrelink payments. We usually see few share houses for someone on youth allowance and hence the affordability has dropped,” said Chambers.

Although it should come as no surprise that affordability is extremely low for those receiving Centrelink benefits, she claimed that “the private market is failing people on low incomes.”

As an example, she gave the percentage of listings this year that were affordable for a two-person household making minimum wage, which has declined over the past ten years to 16%.

“Years ago, we used to see that about a quarter of the rentals were affordable for that household type,” said Chambers. “We notice that affordability is getting worse as income levels rise.”

She claimed that despite a record number of homes being built in Australia over the last ten years, rents had continued to rise.

“Across Australia, the need for social housing has grown to 640,000 social houses. Eliminating this deficit will benefit those who are experiencing the greatest rental stress and open up the most affordable rentals for everyone else.

The nation’s capital cities are experiencing a worsening housing problem. According to PropTrack’s March rental report, the country’s vacancy rate was 1.5%, while the average weekly rent in capital cities increased by 13% to $520.

Nina, a 50-year-old woman receiving a disability pension, asked that her true name not be used.

After more than 20 years of residing in Melbourne, the former chef moved more than two hours outside of the city to find a more inexpensive place to live when rents began to rise.

Nina remarked, “I could not find a property in the neighbourhood I lived in.

She left the city after six months of looking both alone and with friends. Her disability income is $1,100 per two weeks, of which 53% is used to rent an apartment in a rural area of Victoria.

She explained, “I’m attempting to start over in a new neighbourhood where I know no one.

The long-term solution, according to Nina, is to create more cheap homes, but she also called for regulations on websites that let people rent out short-term apartments, like Airbnb.

“The housing is there; it’s just that people can have it for short-term rentals with such ease.”

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