Rental homes slim picking for low earners
Some 98 per cent of rental properties across the country are too expensive for workers on the minimum wage.
A new survey by Anglicare Australia of 45,992 rental listings shows the market is less affordable than ever, and all political parties need to act urgently.
Only 712 of the rental properties surveyed by Anglicare Australia, or two per cent, could be afforded by Australians earning minimum wage.
"Australia's housing crisis has reached fever pitch," Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.
"No part of the country has been spared. Rents are shooting up in towns and regions, and our cities have never been more expensive.
"We keep hearing that this election is about living costs, but housing is the biggest cost facing Australians."
Older Australians on the pension were even worse off, only able to afford 312, or one per cent, of the properties surveyed.
People living on the disability support pension could only afford 52 rental properties, or less than one per cent of the rental listings.
There were just eight affordable rentals for people living on Jobseeker, all rooms in share houses.
There are currently 950,000 on Jobseeker or other unemployment payments, more than before the pandemic.
Similarly, a person living on Youth Allowance student payments could afford a room from a small amount of share houses.
Low-income families were also found to be particularly vulnerable, with 78 properties found to be affordable to an out-of-work couple with two children, and 61 homes affordable for single parents receiving the parenting payment.
Anglicare is now calling on whoever wins the election in May to raise the rate of Jobseeker above the poverty line.
"If we don't, people out of work will be pushed deeper into housing stress and even homelessness," Ms Chambers said.
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie said people on low incomes are being caught in a "crushing pincer movement" of rising rents and stagnant incomes.
"They have long been priced out of major cities and, increasingly, from many regional areas," she said.
Dr Goldie said the findings were alarming and should be a wake-up call to the government and those running for election.
She said without major changes to housing policy, the situation will continue to deteriorate.
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