There is a housing affordability crisis in regional Australia? .. and here’s why.
The newly released annual Demographia report on housing affordability has found – once again – that Australia has some of the least affordable housing markets in the world. Sydney was ranked as the second-least-affordable housing market behind Hong Kong. This news came just a day after incoming NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that improving housing affordability would be a priority for her government.
Renters are being asked to put their money where their mouth is as landlords encourage them to outbid each other in the search for a home.
Known as rent bidding and deemed ‘‘totally unethical’’ by community housing organisations, the practise sees potential tenants taking part in an informal auction to see how much money they will pay to secure accommodation.
Tenants’ Union ACT executive officer Deborah Pippen said the practice is against the code of conduct for licensed real estate agents, but private advertisers aren’t held to the same standards.
A shortfall in government-owned accommodation is forcing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into overcrowded homes, their cars or the streets, say Canberra welfare groups. Concern over a lack of accommodation follows an increase in the number of self-identified indigenous public housing tenants in the past year.
One problem highlighted by housing groups is overcrowding, as seen in the case of a single mother who until recently lived in one room with her four young sons aged between seven years and 20 months. Now in emergency accommodation with the help of a local charity, the woman said she felt there was some discrimination against her and others due to the higher levels of family support traditionally provided by indigenous families.
The ACT government has begun evicting its wealthier public housing tenants, including one household earning more than $230,000 a year.
To date, 43 Housing ACT residents have been served with a notice to vacate as part of the government's crackdown on middle class tenants, which has caused concern amongs local welfare groups. Approximately 250 households of the 1000 public housing renters paying market prices have declared household incomes of more than $80,000 a year over one or two financial years. Of these, more than 100 have reported household incomes in excess of $100,000 a year.
What we want to achieve in the long-term in a perfect world. ACT Shelter believes that housing is a human right. Our vision is that everyone’s home be recognised as the safe, secure, affordable, sustainable foundation to well-being.