About 98 percent of rental properties nationwide are too expensive for workers on minimum wages.
A new survey of 45,992 rental listings by Anglicare Australia shows that the market is less affordable than ever, and that all political parties need to act urgently.
Of the rental properties surveyed by Anglicare Australia, only 712, or two percent, can be afforded by minimum wage-earning Australians.
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“Australia’s housing crisis has reached a fever pitch,” said Anglicare Australia executive director Kasi Chambers.
“No part of the country has been spared. Rents are rising in towns and regions, and our cities have never been more expensive.
“We keep hearing that this election is about cost of living, but housing is the biggest cost facing Australians.”
Older Australians on pensions were even worse, with only 312 of the assets surveyed, or one per cent, able to afford.
People living on a disability assistance pension can only afford 52 rental properties, or less than one percent of the rental list.
There were only eight affordable rentals for people living on Jobseeker, all rooms in the Share House.
There are currently 950,000 on jobseekers or other unemployment payments, higher than before the pandemic.
Similarly, a person living on youth allowance student payment can buy a room from a small amount of share houses.
Low-income households were also found to be particularly vulnerable, with 78 properties found affordable for out-of-work couples with two children, and 61 homes affordable for single parents receiving parental payments.
Anglicare is now calling on whoever wins the election in May to raise the job seeker rate above the poverty line.
“If we don’t, people out of work will be pushed toward housing stress and even homelessness,” Ms Chambers said.
Australian Council of Social Services CEO Cassandra Goldie said low-income people are caught up in a “crushing movement” of rising rents and steady incomes.
“They have long been out of major cities and growing rapidly from many regional areas,” she said.
Dr Goldie said the findings were alarming and should be a warning to the government and those running for election.
He said the situation would continue to deteriorate without major changes in the housing policy.