Housing stress surges as Treasurer is urged to act

Between half and three quarters of renters are living in housing stress in 15 eastern seaboard electorates, according to heatmaps released today by Everybody’s Home.

The maps reveal the combined impact of surging rents and stagnant wages is particularly felt in outer suburban and coastal communities. It comes as more than 150 organisations working at the coalface of the housing and homelessness crisis release a joint letter calling on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to invest in more social housing at the coming Federal Budget. 

Proportion of renters living in housing stress – top five electorates by state. (Digital Finance Analytics & UNSW City Futures Research Centre)

MACARTHUR – 76.5%CHIFLEY – 73.6%MITCHELL – 73.0%BARTON – 70.5%ROBERTSON – 70.0% BOWMAN – 59.8%FORDE – 57.8%WRIGHT – 57.0%PETRIE – 53.5%OXLEY – 52.9%  BRUCE – 64%CALWELL – 63.3%HOLT – 63.1%LALOR – 62.9%McEWEN – 61.5% 

Voters living in Australia’s three largest cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are hardest hit by rent and mortgage stress, with rental stress between 40-70% across a majority of seats in all three state capitals.

Australians in regional electorates are also feeling the squeeze of soaring housing costs with more than 60% of renters in the NSW regional seats of Robertson, Dobell, Gilmore, Lyne, and flood-ravaged Cowper and Page in NSW living in rental stress, as well as the Geelong-based seat of Corio in Victoria. 

Everybody’s Home spokesperson Kate Colvin said the data demonstrated that the need for investment in social housing has never been greater.

“Incomes are not keeping up with surging housing costs. This is no longer an issue which impacts only those on modest incomes or those living in the major cities. Middle income Australians can’t keep up with rent and mortgage payments. Regional communities are also experiencing housing crises never seen before.

“There is no time to waste, we need an urgent commitment from the Treasurer to invest in social housing in the upcoming federal budget. Millions of Australians are counting on it.”

The new data comes in the wake of survey results across the seats ofGilmore (NSW), Longman (Qld), and Flinders (Vic) showing an overwhelming majority believe the Federal Government has failed to confront the housing rental crisis.

Despite worsening rental affordability, federal funding for social housing continues to decline. In 2013-14 federal funding for social and Indigenous housing was over $2 billion, but on current forecasts the Commonwealth will spend just $1.6 billion in 2023-24.

Responding to the data, over 150 of Australia’s community and faith organisations, and unions   are calling on the Federal Government to use the upcoming Budget to improve housing affordability for Australians struggling in the rental market.

Kate Colvin said an investment in social housing would do more than just alleviate housing stress. It would also boost the Australian economy, a fact referenced in the letter to the Treasurer.

“Investing in social housing is more than just proving everyone a place to call home. It will also provide our economy with a significant economic boost. Building just 25,000 social and affordable homes per year would generate annual economic output of $12.7 billion and create 15,700 jobs,” Ms Colvin said.

“The upcoming federal budget represents a unique opportunity for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg which cannot be wasted. Failure to deliver more social housing will further exacerbate what is already a developing social crisis.”

Contact: Levi Joule 0481 112 074

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