If you are single, a minimum wage job is no longer security against financial hardship due to high rents in Sydney’s private rental market. For a number of years Anglicare Sydney’s rental affordability snapshot revealed less than 1% of rental homes in Greater Sydney and the Illawarra Region were both appropriate and affordable for households on Government income support payments. Today, new research shows the decline in rental affordability is no longer just an issue for those on supported incomes but is now affecting households where one person is working on the minimum wage.
Anglicare Sydney’s Rental Affordability Snapshot reviewed more than 14,000 properties that were available in Greater Sydney and the Illawarra Region on the weekend of 1-2 April 2017. Of the 14,447 properties advertised, only 30 were affordable and appropriate for households on income support payments without placing them into rental stress. Rental stress occurs when more than 30% of a household’s income is spent on rent.
“Urgent action is needed by governments, community and business sectors to alleviate the worsening rental stress we are seeing in Greater Sydney and the Illawarra,” says Anglicare Sydney’s Manager of Advocacy and Research, Sue King.
“For the past five years we have seen a decreasing number of properties available for people on low incomes. Now the cohort of people requiring support is growing. Not only are regional areas around the Illawarra getting as unaffordable as Sydney, our research is finding that high rents are now pushing people who are working on the minimum wage into rental stress.
“The lack of private rentals affordable for single people and families struggling on either benefits or the minimum wage is a serious concern. The end result is people spending more than 50% of their low income on rent so they struggle to pay bills, afford electricity or even access enough food. Many are at risk of homelessness and hunger.
“There are two particular groups of people facing significant rental stress in the Snapshot. There is very little affordable for single people on low incomes. Living on your own receiving benefits or on the minimum wage and trying to pay rent in Sydney generates stress, anxiety and the risk of homelessness.
“Ageing renters are also increasing in number and their housing future looks bleak as the pension, especially for single people, is not sufficient to meet the rents being demanded in Sydney.”
The 2017 Rental Snapshot for Greater Sydney and the Illawarra reveals:
- a reduction in affordable properties for people on supported incomes – from 76 properties in 2016 to 30 properties in 2017.
- a 15% reduction in affordable properties for households on the minimum wage – from 2,618 properties in 2016 to 2,228 properties in 2017.
- In Greater Sydney and the Illawarra Region there were no appropriate and affordable properties for single people on the Newstart Allowance – including single parents on Newstart with a child older than 8 years – Disability Support Pension, or Youth Allowance.
- For a single person, working on the minimum wage, there were 24 affordable properties – less than 1%. Last year there were 82 properties available to them.
- a single parent working on the minimum wage with two children now has less than 1% of advertised properties that are affordable to them in Greater Sydney and the Illawarra: 64 properties in 2017, down from 83 last year.
“We are urging all levels of government to agree to a five year social housing plan with numerical targets to increase the supply of homes in NSW. We need at least 20,000 additional new social housing dwellings in NSW by 2025. We must also use and adjust planning controls wisely to ensure there is no net loss in public and social housing in each local government area,” says Ms King.
“Furthermore, the Greater Sydney Commission Plan needs to be revised to increase the level of affordable housing in rezoned developments from 5-10% to between 15-30% in developments on government land.
“Rising rents and inadequate incomes are forcing many low income households into poverty. We need to see an increase in levels of income support as accessing affordable private rentals is almost impossible for people on benefits or the minimum wage in Greater Sydney and the Illawarra.”
ANGLICARE Sydney’s Rental Affordability Snapshot is part of a national project carried out by Anglicare Australia to assess national rental affordability for low income households.
Download the Rental Affordability Snapshot 2017
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