The ‘Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot’ provides an insight into the desperate situation faced by people on low incomes in the Brisbane area with the number of affordable rental properties decreasing between 2012 and 2011 across all household types.
Research gathered by Anglicare Southern Queensland from an analysis of 6,044 private housing rental advertisements between 13-15April found that for the second year in a row there is an insufficient supply of affordable and suitable housing for people on low incomes.
At the same time, demand for accommodation increased, as did rental costs. Flats/ apartments/ units rose sharply by $50 to a median weekly rental of $380, a rise of 15%. Vacancy rates also decreased to 3.7% across Queensland according to December quarter rental vacancy data from the Queensland Government’s Office of Economic and Statistical Research.
The Snapshot provided a bleak outlook on the supply of suitable accommodation for families struggling on government welfare. Less than 1% of the 6,044 rental properties advertised in the Brisbane region were found to be affordable and appropriate for a family of four surviving on Newstart Allowance.
It is a similar picture for families earning the minimum wage with only 2% of advertised properties considered affordable and appropriate for a family of four living on a single minimum wage of $589.30 per week.
Anglicare Southern Queensland Director of Mission and Justice, The Reverend Canon Rod MacDonald said the Snapshot findings were a reminder of the struggle faced by low income families and showed that governments and the property industry needed to work together to address the increasing lack of affordable rental accommodation.
Canon MacDonald called on all levels of government to revise housing policies and provide property developers and investors with incentives such as boosting the Federal Government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) to increase the level of affordable and appropriate rental stock.
He also said there should be incentives to encourage home ownership by people on low incomes and people on government benefits.
“Demand for suitable properties and weekly rental costs continue to rise, affecting all renters but particularly disadvantaging families and those in the community that can least afford it.
There needs to be a wider approach to relieve the financial stress caused in large part by the lack of housing affordability for those living on government benefits or the minimum wage,” he said.
Weekly rental costs across the board have outpaced the inflation rate driving a fall in the number of rental properties affordable to people on low incomes and welfare recipients. Of special note was the decrease in affordable apartments across Brisbane which dropped dramatically from 21% in 2011 to 11% in 2012.
Full Brisbane Snapshot results and a detailed report on the Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot can be found here: Download Snapshot Report
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Key Greater Brisbane findings from the Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot:
- Only 2% of rental properties were found to be both affordable and appropriate for a family of four on one minimum wage
- Affordable and appropriate rentals drop nearly thirteen fold for a household with a family of four that goes from two minimum wage earners to one minimum wage earner
- Houses and townhouses accounted for more than half of the rental properties advertised (3,822 of 6,044) however only 6% of these properties were affordable to a family with 2 children, earning one minimum wage and were primarily one and two bedrooms dwellings, considered inappropriate for a family with two children
- Of the 6,044 advertised properties, 1,803 were apartments and only 11% of these were affordable to low income families on a single minimum wage. Yet of these 197 affordable properties, 149 were unsuitable one bedroom apartments
- A single person with 2 children, earning the minimum wage struggles with only about one in 50 rental properties considered affordable and appropriate.
- Single young people were hardest hit – not one of the 6,044 rental properties affordable for a single unemployed person or a young person on Newstart or Youth Allowance
- The cheapest rental property in the 2012 Snapshot was a room in shared accommodation in Brisbane West for $90 per week, but even this amount exceeded the youth allowance shared accommodation rental affordability threshold by $28 per week.
- Rental affordability hasn’t improved in the last 12 months despite the Commonwealth Government increased welfare allowances during 2011, particularly for youth
- The recent increase in youth related allowances appears to have negligible impact on young people finding suitable rentals other than shared accommodation
Steven Henderson, Public Relations Officer, Anglican Diocese ofBrisbane, Office: 07 3838 7692, Mobile: 0402 276 083, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canon Rod MacDonald, Director of Mission and Justice for Anglicare Southern Queensland is available for comment regarding the Snapshot. Contact Public Relations Officer Steven Henderson to arrange a suitable time. Additionally Anglicare clients in demographics of youth, families and homeless have offered to provide stories and input relating to the Snapshot. Steven Henderson can arrange contact with relevant clients.
About the Snapshot:
The Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot is a project of Anglicare Southern Queensland, and is part of a national survey coordinated by Anglicare Australia. The Snapshot aimed to identify the proportion of rental properties that are affordable, accessible and appropriate for people living on government benefits. For the purpose of the survey, an affordable rental is one which takes up less than 30% of the household’s income.
Household types are based on differing person and family combinations. Consideration of these various structures enables the maximum rate of Centrelink pensions and allowances to be estimated, to establish a total income for each type. Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) is then factored in to enable a maximum affordable weekly rent (based on the 30% rule) to be estimated for each type.
Analysis of the data focused on a range of household structures and sources of income. Examples include a couple on Newstart Allowance with two children; a couple on the Age Pension; a single parent with one or two children; and a single person on an Age or Disability Support Pension.
Rental data was collected for the Greater Brisbane metropolitan area from The Courier Mail and from website www.realestate.com.au. This included data on houses, units, apartments and shared accommodation available for rent.
About Anglicare Southern Queensland and its accommodation solutions:
Anglicare Southern Queensland is an Anglican not-for-profit organisation and a proud member of the Anglicare Australia network committed to social and community welfare issues and aged and community care needs, focussing on disadvantaged members of the community.
Anglicare Southern Queensland provides accommodation and support to the aged, single women, women with children and young people that are homeless or at risk at becoming homeless. Anglicare Southern Queensland also provides early intervention strategies that help people experiencing problems to maintain their existing tenancies through advocacy and education.