Byron Bay rents less affordable than Sydney, making renters ‘go without basic necessities’

A new report on rental affordability in Australia’s eastern states has revealed Byron Bay is ahead of Sydney and Melbourne on the list of problem areas.

Key points:

  • Rents in Sydney are higher than Byron Bay, but so are incomes
  • That means housing in the tourist town is rated as less affordable
  • The study was done by non-government, not-for-profit social housing group Compass Housing

The New South Wales tourist town was rated least affordable when the average rents were measured against the median weekly incomes of renting households.

It found the average rent in Byron Bay was $590 per week — 48 per cent of the average household income for renters of $1,218.

The study by Compass Housing — a non-government, not-for-profit social housing group — revealed the town trumped Sydney, where rents were more expensive but incomes were also higher.

The report found a typical renter in Byron would need a pay rise of almost $750 a week to avoid rental stress.

“That means your typical rental household would need a 61 per cent pay rise, basically, to avoid housing stress on a median-priced dwelling,” Compass spokesman Martin Kennedy said.

“I don’t know if anyone you know has got a 61 per cent pay rise lately; I certainly don’t.”

The report found six of the seven least affordable areas in regional NSW were on the north coast.

Others affected were Ballina, Grafton, Tweed, Coffs Harbour, and Port Macquarie.

Financial counsellor Simone Hickey said rental affordability had hit a crisis point on the Northern Rivers

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