Anglicare: rental affordability crashes to all-time low

More and more Australians are priced out of the rental market, according to the 2022 Anglicare rental Snapshot, which surveyed 45,992 listings.

“For a couple living on the Age Pension, just 1.4 percent of rentals were affordable,” Anglicare reports. “Finding an affordable rental is even harder for single aged pensioners, with 0.1 percent of listings left to compete for. Many are rooms in share houses that might not be appropriate for an older person.”

The Age Pension is the most generous income support payment, which means other welfare recipients are worse off. Out of 45,992 listings, Anglicare found just eight affordable rentals for a single person on the JobSeeker payment.

“An out-of-work couple with two children can afford just 78 properties across Australia or 0.2 percent of the rentals advertised on the Snapshot weekend.”

“Working people are hardly better off,” says Anglicare. “A single person working full-time on the minimum wage will find that 1.6 percent of rentals are affordable. Of all of the households featured in this Snapshot, families with two parents each earning a minimum wage stand the best chance of finding an affordable home. Even they will only be able to afford 15.3 percent of the rentals we surveyed.”

The minimum wage has not kept up with the rising cost of housing. “Families with both parents in work on the minimum wage can afford 15.3 percent of the properties available on the Snapshot weekend, and these figures have been trending downwards. Ten years ago, in 2012, the Snapshot showed about 30 percent of properties were affordable for families with both parents on minimum wage. ”

Anglicare suggests two main policies that would ease the housing unaffordability crisis.

• Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) should be increased to protect people on low incomes from exclusion from the rental market once again. Organisations such as ACOSS, National Shelter, and the Grattan Institute have called for the maximum rate of CRA to be increased by at least 50 percent as the minimum required to bring CRA up to an acceptable level.

• Anglicare Australia supports “the call from the Everybody’s Home campaign to build an additional 25,000 social housing dwellings per year.” City Futures Research Centre at the University of NSW estimates the current unmet need for social housing, targeted at households on the lowest incomes, at 437,600. In addition, there is a significant unmet need for affordable rental housing for people on the “second income quintile” – the band above the lowest incomes.