Australia rents fall but social housing waitlist increases

Rents across Australia’s major cities have fallen, but many new low-income tenants are still unable to afford

Suburban Australian street during the day. zstock/Shutterstock

A recent report indicated that by next Easter, the number of Australian tenants calling for affordable housing, as well as many who have never sought help before, will reach disastrous levels. Many Australians who joined the low-income sector not long ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic might need to join the waiting list for social housing, an idea that has never crossed their minds until now, reported Domain.

According to The Rental Affordability Index (RAI)’s report, rents have dropped across every capital city in Australia, yet the price hasn’t dropped low enough for low-income earners.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many residents have lost their jobs and shifted into the low-income earner sector, as well as essential casual workers, are now regarded as high risk of financial and rental stress.

Vice-chairperson of Nation Shelter John Engeler expects the repercussions to be in full effect by Easter 2021 as coronavirus-related financial support measures JobKeeper and JobSeeker would be terminated in March.

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Engeler said to Domain, “unequivocally, there will be a whole raft of people who’ve never had to even think about social housing that will have to join the waiting list.”

“We’re worried that when the rental eviction moratorium ends, JobSeeker reduces, and JobKeeper goes away, there will be a wave affecting more renters,” Engeler added.

Executive officer at National Shelter Adrian Pisarski also mentioned that even with financial support like JobSeeker, low-income tenants are still deep in rental stress.

Pisarski stated, “this shows the depth of our rental affordability problem, where even with additional support, there is not one place in Australia where a JobSeeker recipient can rent affordably.”