• Emily Baker | Canberra Times
  • News

Housing affordability in Canberra

Housing affordability in Canberra: Renting is the ACT's 'biggest issue'. Belconnen university student Lizz McCarter lists her favourite television channel as LifeStyle. It's here she draws fresh inspiration for her goal of buying and renovating a home.

Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, who is unable to work, the great Australian dream seems just that - a dream. Half her partner's pay goes on rent, with much of the remainder spent managing her chronic medical condition.

"It's very daunting. It's hard for us to even consider ... saving for a house and we have to hope things will be better in a few years' time when we're a bit older," Ms McCarter said.

"At this point I don't even know if it's possible."

The latest CoreLogic Rental Index showed households renting in Canberra paid an average of $505 per week - recording the nation's biggest increase with a rise of 1 per cent for the month and 1.9 per cent year-on-year.

Australian National University Centre for Social Research and Methods Associate Professor Ben Phillips said rent was housing affordability's biggest issue. 

"It's really the rental market which is where you have all the social issues and the lower-income families, that's really where the problems are," he said.

"Of course, if you're paying a lot of rent it's difficult to get into the market to purchase a house if that's what you want to do.

"We've got rents that are really based around quite an affluent city but that hides the reality that yes, we're an affluent city, but there's plenty of people who are lower-income families in Canberra as well who are in that rental market."

Ms McCarter is one of many for whom renting remains the only viable option.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics housing data showed the number of ACT households renting rose slightly over the past five years from 29.3 per cent to 31.5 per cent.

In the same period, the number of households who owned their homes outright dipped very slightly from 27.3 per cent to 27.1 per cent. Overall, homeowners - including those with mortgages - dropped from 69.8 per cent to 67.2 per cent.

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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.


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