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Executive Director, Kasy Chambers
Anglicare Executive Director, Kasy Chambers Image: The Courier
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  • Only three rental properties in Australia are deemed affordable for a single individual on the federal government’s JobSeeker allowance, a new analysis has found
  • The Rental Affordability Snapshot report conducted by Anglicare examined 74,266 listings and found that each of the three rentals was shared accommodation listings
  • This month, the Morrison government increased the permanent amount of JobSeeker, worker and parental allowances by $50 every two weeks
  • 0.3 per cent of rentals were affordable and suitable for a single parent on Parenting Payment Single, 0.5 per cent for those on the Disability Support Pension and 0.5 per cent of rentals were affordable and suitable for a retiree on the Age Pension
  • There are no rental properties that are affordable for young Australians on the Youth Allowance

Only three rental properties in Australia are deemed affordable for a single individual on the federal government’s JobSeeker allowance, a new analysis has found.

The Rental Affordability Snapshot 2021 report conducted by Anglicare examined 74,266 listings and found that each of the three affordable rentals was shared accommodation listings, and were located in Brisbane, Perth, and the NSW Riverina region.

This month, the Morrison government increased the permanent amount of JobSeeker, worker and parental allowances by $50 every two weeks, bringing the basic rate of unemployment to about $44 a day.

According to the Department of Social Services, in March 1,167,392 Australians were on JobSeeker payments and 334,621 on Youth Allowance. This means that for 1,502,013 Australians there were only 318 affordable rental properties out of the 74,266 analysed in the study.

“After a year of volatility and shock, Australians are facing a rental market that has never been less affordable,” Anglicare executive director Kasy Chambers said.

“No corner of Australia has been spared the effects of this volatility. The Snapshot shows that affordability in regional areas has crashed over the past year, challenging the myth that country areas offer an affordable reprieve from the city.”

The study used the widely accepted criterion that an affordable home can cost no more than 30 per cent of a person’s monthly income.

A single person with no children could receive a maximum payment of $620.80 a fortnight on JobSeeker, meaning 30 per cent of their monthly income is just $372.48.

As eviction moratoriums end across the country and as rents continue an upward trajectory while less rental properties are on the market, the report said, “renters on low incomes are facing the perfect storm”.

Rents rose 4.1 per cent in the first quarter of the year in the regions, while rents in the combined capitals increased 2.9 per cent, according to CoreLogic.

The news wasn’t better for recipients of other government payments, according to the snapshot.

0.3 per cent of rentals were affordable and suitable for a single parent on Parenting Payment Single, 0.5 per cent for those on the Disability Support Pension and 0.5 per cent of rentals were affordable and suitable for a retiree on the Age Pension.

There are no rental properties that were affordable for young Australians on the Youth Allowance.

The numbers are a significant decline from the 2020 report when the government doubled payments, the snapshot found 1040 of the 69,960 homes surveyed would be affordable for a single JobSeeker.

In 2019, out of 69,485 homes, only two properties were affordable for people on the now defunct Newstart Allowance.

The latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said there was 148,500 households on a waiting list for public housing at June 30 2019.

In 2018–19, just under 800,000 Australians lived in social housing, residing in over 437,000 dwellings across the country. 

The news is also dire for those on minimum wage, with the report noting that couples with children on the minimum wage have seen a drop in affordability of eight percentage points since 2020.

“The remaining minimum wage households we study, made up of single people and single-parent families, have seen affordability at least halve in the past
year,” the report said.

The government’s Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) program is set up to assist low-income households with rental costs.

A peer-reviewed study undertaken on behalf of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) found that in 2016 nearly two million households received the rental assistance.

Anglicare said their calculations include CRA as well as other available payments
such as the Family Tax Benefit.

“Even with these extra payments, many people are trapped in rentals they cannot afford,” the report stated.

As the Australian property market goes from strength to strength, Chambers said we must deal with the problem of rental affordability.

“As the Australian housing market continues to defy all assumptions, we must face the reality and the scale of this problem,” she said.

“We must find permanent and structural solutions to make sure that every Australian has the income they need to find a home, and to make sure that the homes are there to be found. It is time for governments to take real action, and ensure every Australian has a home,” she concluded.


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