Housing Affordability for Young People Worsening
Thursday, 21st April 2016 at 10:45 am
Less than 0.1 per cent of rental properties are affordable for a single person on Newstart or Youth Allowance, Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot has revealed.
The welfare Not for Profit surveyed more than 75,000 houses across regional and urban Australia on the first weekend of April to assess their affordability and appropriateness for people on low incomes.
Anglicare Australia’s executive director Kasy Chambers said the rental market was unaffordable and the situation had worsened over the snapshot’s seven years.
“Single people are particularly hard hit. If you’re single on any of the government payments, or even on a minimum wage, there was very little that was affordable for you,” Chambers said.
“Out of over 75,000 places, if you’re a single on Youth Allowance there are only 21 [affordable houses]. That’s way, way less than 1 per cent.
“Even if you’re a single person on the aged pension, only just over 2 per cent of these 75,000 properties were affordable.
“We also look at people on minimum wage, and even a couple with children on the minimum wage would be struggling. So even for the best-off household that we surveyed, which is a couple on the minimum wage with two children [who] would be getting family tax benefit and rental assistance, less than 9 per cent of the properties were available for them.”
She told Pro Bono Australia News with the upcoming budget and looming election, the organisation would attempt to put housing affordability front and centre of the political debate.
“We’re hoping that the release of this report will help us further this conversation… nobody can say that this isn’t reality,” she said.
“This is an election year, the major parties have both talked about negative gearing this year, it’s on their agenda, let’s keep it there, let’s explore what difference it would make if we changed these policies.
“There’s a lot of money sitting there through negative gearing and capital gains tax that we could have access to for housing.
“We’d certainly like to see the tax review. It’s been pulled back from, it’s been paired down. We would like to see that very much be put back on the table.
“We know that the vast majority of that benefit goes to people in very much the higher-income bracket, it is a borrowing from the public purse, it is a benefit that comes out from the general tax take, so it would be really good to see that re-paid into the public.”
She also said that pushing a discussion about benefits and the minimum wage would be a priority.
“We also need to consider adequate income, and both housing and adequate income are priorities for the budget and the election. If the minimum wage can’t manage to get you an affordable place in the rental market, then clearly it’s not enough,” she said.
“Even more of a concern is government benefits, because…clearly if it’s not enough for you to find a stable place to live then it’s not enough for you to find work, for you to be healthy, for you to continue your education.”
Chambers said that the housing affordability crisis must be tackled by all levels of government.
“Every level of government has an impact into the costs of housing, so we really do need to ask the question of what’s going to make housing affordable and then get everybody to the table to talk about it, rather than say what can the Commonwealth do and what can local government do. We really do need COAG to take a lead on that,” she said.