Unaffordable rental properties out of reach for majority of pensioners

Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot painted a gloomy picture of the Australian rental market. Source: Getty.

New figures have revealed that Australians in receipt of the pension cannot afford an overwhelming majority of rental properties across Australia, with just one per cent of homes classed as suitable and affordable for a single age pensioner.

Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot painted a gloomy picture of the Australian rental market, revealing that those on the Age Pension are at risk of being exposed to rental stress as housing affordability in Australia has dipped to its lowest point in six years.

And it’s not just single pensioners who are affected either as the report, which was published last week, showed that just 3.2 per cent of private rental properties were affordable for a couple on the aged pension, the lowest percentage in a snapshot since 2013.

Ian Yates, Chief Executive of COTA Australia, said the report highlights the need for urgent action from all parties ahead of the upcoming election.

“The sector has been talking for years on end about Australia’s housing crisis and the figures are now getting worse, not better,” he said. “What is it going to take for governments to step up and tackle this crisis?

“Private rental prices continue to outstrip increases to government benefit payments, leaving vulnerable Australians, including older Australians in private rentals, struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

“Over the last decade we have seen a growing number of older Australians retire as renters, who have either fallen out of home ownership or who have never owned a home, and it is clear that this will increase over coming years.”

Read more: Pensioners ‘hit particularly hard’ by unaffordable rental costs: Study

Last November, it was revealed that Australian pensioners were being hit the hardest by rising rental costs in all of the country’s capital cities, with Hobart said to be the worst offender.

The findings, published by National Shelter in their annual Rental Affordability Index at the time, shone a light on the alarmingly poor affordability of rental living for single age pensioners, revealing the issue had spread to the majority of regional areas across Australia.

With many already struggling to make ends meet on the Age Pension, the report revealed that single pensioners renting in Sydney would be waving goodbye to an extortionate 90 per cent of their income to cover the rent for a one bedroom home, while a similar property in Melbourne would see them spend 68 per cent of their income.

According to the study, single pensioners would have to move to regional South Australia to find accommodation that would not force them into rental stress. While couples would also struggle to make ends meet in all Australian capitals, and every regional area except NSW, Victoria, SA, and Tasmania.

The findings also unveiled the least affordable Aussie city for renters overall, with Hobart claiming that title as those on low or average incomes found to be struggling in the Tassie capital, described as being in “a housing gridlock”.

Do you rent or own your own home? Have you had difficulty meeting rent payments?

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