Thursday, July 7, 2022

Rents soar across Australia’s regional centres

Rents soar

A new report from the ACOSS and UNSW Sydney shows that regional rents are now 18 per cent higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic

The price of renting in Australia’s regional centres has grown by almost 20 per cent in just two years, prompting experts to warn of a national housing emergency.

A new report from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and UNSW Sydney shows that regional rents are now 18 per cent higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, while wages in the same period have only grown by 6 per cent.

The Australian findings mirror those found in other markets such as the UK and the US, where rent inflation in 2021 reached levels not seen since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said low-income regional residents are copping the brunt of the increases, which cannot be covered by CPI-linked benefits increases that are indexed to capital city rents.

With private rentals already in short supply before the recent devastating floods, soaring rents, and a severe shortage of social housing options, we’re in the middle of a renting crisis in many parts of regional Australia, Dr Goldie said.

In flood-affected areas, it’s clear the rental market cannot house the families on low and middle incomes who have been made homeless temporarily – the real concern is that this then becomes permanent, Dr Goldie said.

Dr Goldie said a greater supply of social housing in regional centres, particularly those hit worst by natural disasters such as floods, is desperately needed to bring asking rents down.

We need immediate Federal Government action to help house people made homeless in flood-affected communities, Dr Goldie said.

But COVID and the floods are only aggravating a national rental problem that has been building for years. After a decade of Commonwealth neglect on social housing we badly need a major national building program that starts to remedy this, with a sizeable part of the investment going to the regional centres facing the greatest stress, Dr Goldie said.

The report, COVID 19: Housing market impacts and housing policy responses – an international review compared the experiences of Australia and seven other case study countries – Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US.

It found that while many countries took far-reaching measures to maintain incomes and safeguard housing during the pandemic, almost all saw asking rents explode once government intervention ended.


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