Australian Government - Productivity Commission (Canberra)
Year of Publication:
Productivity Commission Research Paper
Private rental market affordability has remained steady in Australia, but there has been a rapid rise in the number of low-income renters. A Productivity Commission report found the private rental market works well for many of the 6.3 million people renting, with rent paid compared with income steady, and the supply of rental properties increasing by more than one million over the past two decades. But the number of low-income households in rental stress has doubled in the past two decades. "Increasingly, we see families stuck in rental stress. We found that over 600,000 households are in rental stress, that is, they spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent. Of these, around 170,000 families have $35 a day or less left for all their other expenses after paying rent," Commissioner Jonathan Coppel said. "More low-income households rent privately than ever before, in part because home ownership and public housing have become less attainable," Commissioner Jonathan Coppel said. Half of households who experience rental stress successfully escape within 12 months, generally through securing higher paid work. But, the other half still experience rental stress four years later, the report found. "Poor rental housing outcomes are a key driver of disadvantage. There has been a lot of discussion lately about whether income support payments are high enough." "The role of Commonwealth Rental Assistance in addressing disadvantage has not really been part of those conversations and there is merit in looking at whether raising the level of rental assistance would be effective," Commissioner Coppel said. The report found that more families with children are now renting, as well as people with a disability and retirees. "Around 1 in 5 moves are involuntary, often as a result of the landlord selling their property, and the costs of eviction can be particularly high for vulnerable households. Having 30 days to find new accommodation if you are elderly or have family responsibilities can be very difficult," Jonathan Coppel said.