Low-income renters miss out on affordable homes
Affordable housing is increasingly becoming beyond the reach of low income earners, including many new refugees or migrants to Australia, according to new research.
A growing proportion of Australian households are renting in the private market; the figure has risen from 13.7 per cent in 2006 to 15.5 per cent in 2011.
New research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) shows there is a relatively low proportion of private rental market properties that are affordable and available for low–moderate-income households.
The research shows that, in 2011, for every 100 residential private rental properties affordable for low–moderate-income households across Australia, only 57 were available to be rented to this group.
The rest of the affordable properties were ‘unavailable’ as they were rented to households with higher incomes.
Of the 899,000 affordable private rental dwellings identified in the 2011 Census, 513,000 were rented to low–moderate-income households and 386,000 were rented to higher income households.
As a result, in 2011 there was a shortfall of 212,000 private rental homes that were both affordable and available to low-to-moderate income households.
As a result 29 per cent of low-moderate income households who rented in the private housing market couldn’t find an affordable property to rent, and had to pay 30 per cent or more of their income in housing costs.
Paying 30 per cent or more of your income on accommodation is deemed to constitute housing stress, the researchers said.
This was an increase from 2006 when just 22 per cent of low-moderate income households who rented privately suffered housing stress and there was a shortfall of just 138,000 affordable and available private rental dwellings for low–moderate-income households.
“While the current shortage of affordable and available private rental housing is large for low–moderate-income households, it is even worse for households in the bottom 20 per cent of income distribution who are renting in the private market,” the researchers said.
“For every 100 residential private rental properties affordable for the bottom 20 per cent of households across Australia less than half (48 per cent) were available for this group to rent,” they said.
AMES Staff Writer