REVEALED: Australia’s worst electorates for rental stress

Seat by seat analysis released in full today reveals electorates in Western Sydney, the NSW North Coast and South Eastern Queensland dominate the 20 electorates with the highest rates of rental stress in Australia.

The analysis by researchers from University of NSW for the Everybody’s Home campaign shows that rental stress is being concentrated in outer suburban and regional seats, which are seen as traditionally affordable areas.

National Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson, Kate Colvin, said the analysis busts the myth that housing affordability is an issue only in inner Sydney and Melbourne.

“The data shows that housing affordability is just not an inner city phenomenon experienced by millenials. In fact the traditionally affordable areas of Western Sydney, and regional NSW and Queensland have more renters doing it tough than anywhere else in the country,” Ms Colvin said.

“Marginal regional seats such as Richmond on the NSW north coast, and Gilmore on the NSW south coast have the highest rates of low income earners struggling in the private rental market – which should be a wake up call to all parties that they can’t afford to ignore housing as an issue.

“The data also shows that rental stress is being felt acutely in traditionally affordable outer suburban seats such as Kingston in Adelaide, Calwell in Melbourne’s north, Braddon in Tasmania and Burt in Perth’s south east.

“While rents in inner city seats in Sydney (ranked 137), Melbourne (ranked 117), Brisbane (ranked115) are high, the comparatively higher incomes of inner city renters allow them to better absorb housing costs.”

The data compares rents and incomes across electorates to identify the number of households in rental stress.

Ms Colvin said the narrow focus on real estate prices means that almost 811,000 Australian households in rental stress are being forgotten by governments at all levels.

“Research by AHURI clearly shows that up front investment in social and affordable housing is the most effective way to improve rental affordability, and ensure there is enough affordable rental housing for low paid workers as our population grows.

“Housing is the single biggest cost of living item for almost every Australian household. This election we need all parties to announce real policies that show they’re taking the issue seriously.”

Doing it tough: Australia’s top 20 electorates for rental stress


National Ranking State Electorate Party % of renters living in housing stress No. of households in rental stress
1 NSW Fowler Labor 44 8,117
2 NSW McMahon Labor 43 7,027
3 NSW Richmond Labor 43 7,390
4 NSW Blaxland Labor 42 8,349
5 NSW Watson Labor 42 8,992
6 NSW Lyne Nationals 42 5,585
7 QLD Hinkler Nationals 41 7,166
8 NSW Page Nationals 40 6,547
9 QLD Moncrieff Liberal 40 10,638
10 NSW Cowper Nationals 40 7,698
11 QLD Longman Labor 40 7,352
12 QLD Wide Bay Nationals 39 5,979
13 NSW Dobell Labor 39 6,331
14 QLD McPherson Liberal 39 7,181
15 NSW Shortland Labor 39 4,982
16 NSW Gilmore Liberal 39 5,724
17 QLD Fisher Liberal 39 6,381
18 QLD Fadden Liberal 39 8,846
19 QLD Fairfax Liberal 38 6,763
20 SA Kingston Labor 38 5,808


  • Rental stress – refers to households with an income in the lowest two income quintiles (the bottom 40 per cent) of Australia’s income distribution who are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in housing costs.
  • Estimated number of households in rental stress is an estimate of the number of lower income households in rental stress.


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