Pensioners priced out of affordable housing

May 17, 2022
Pensioners amongst hardest hit by rental crisis. Source: Getty

The housing crisis in Australia, making rental properties a competitive and expensive market, has left less than one per cent of affordable houses available to pensioners.

The Rental Affordability Snapshot National Report April 2022 released by Anglicare Australia found that the key factors making rentals unaffordable are low incomes and high prices.

The Snapshot found that of the 45,992 assessed rental properties, only 312 of the properties were available to those on the age pension.

National Seniors Australia reported Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said the affordability crisis has reached extreme heights, saying one solution to the poverty crisis includes more social housing.

“No part of the country has been spared. Rents are shooting up in towns and regions, and our cities have never been more expensive,” Chambers said.

“Investing in housing is the most powerful way to make the market more affordable, and boost regional communities doing it tough after the pandemic and floods.

Anglicare CEO Simon Miller issued a warning saying “any further delay is just extending the crisis”, calling on the government to focus on fixing the housing crisis.

“This year, our Snapshot affirms that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to impact the vulnerable in our society and economic recovery is still affecting those that are living on the margins,” Miller said.

“For example, in suburbs like Parramatta, there are simply no housing available for a single parent with 1 or 2 children receiving either the parenting payment benefit, Jobseeker or an aged pension.”

National Seniors is also calling for a rise in the Commonwealth Rent Assistance, saying the subsidy has not kept up with increasing rental costs.

In addition to raising rent subsidies, National Seniors and Anglicare’s Snapshot highlighted the need for an increase in the age pension to keep up with the rising rental costs.

The government raised the age pension on March 20, 2022, providing an extra $20.10 a fortnight for singles raising it to $987.60 and by $30.20 a fortnight for couples combined to $1,488.80.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the increase was “the largest increase since 2013.”

“Pensioners will see a 2.1 per cent increase to their payments,” she said.

“This is putting money in the pockets of all Australians who rely on our social security system and, in particular, older Australians.”

The government recently issued a one-off $250 payment to provide older Australians with temporary relief from the rising cost of living.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the cost of living is getting worse due to varying “global factors”.

“Global factors such as high oil prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supply chain disruptions due to COVID are putting pressure on household budgets here at home,” he said.

“That is why in the Budget we committed to a temporary, targeted and responsible cost of living package.”

The cost of living is continuing to rise with inflation rates hitting the highest peak in 20 years jumping up by 2.1 per cent in the first 3 months of 2022.

Sitting at 5.1 per cent, inflation has not been this high since September 2000.

 

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