According to Anglicare’s 14th annual rental affordability snapshot, the rental market has hit its lowest point yet for people earning minimum wage, with affordability falling by half over the last year.

The snapshot analyses rental listing data from a single weekend and assesses whether the properties would be affordable for different types of households.

According to the report, there were only 45,895 rental listings across the country, the lowest number recorded in the 14 years Anglicare has prepared the snapshot. Between 2018 and 2021, the number of available rentals listed was consistently above 65,000.

Snapshot highlights:

  • 345 rentals (0.8%) were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage
  • 162 rentals (0.4%) were affordable for a person on the Age Pension
  • 66 rentals (0.1%) were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
  • 4 rentals, (0%) all sharehouses, were affordable for a person on JobSeeker
  • 0 rentals (0%) were affordable for a person on Youth Allowance.

For the first time, the percentage of affordable listings for a full-time minimum wage earner has plummeted below 1%.

The situation is even worse for people on Centrelink payments, with less than 1% of rentals considered affordable for those on age or disability support pensions and 0% for those unemployed, even with rent assistance.

So what does this mean for renters in Australia?

The report examined 14 different types of households and found that no rental properties are considered affordable for single individuals on the government’s youth allowance payment, which pays between $332.90 and $720.40 per fortnight.

This means that even those receiving government support struggle to make ends meet when finding a place to live.

The situation is particularly dire for those receiving government support payments.

For instance, the report found that just four properties were suitable for singles receiving JobSeeker, which currently pays a single person with no children $693.10 a fortnight. This means that most people on JobSeeker may struggle to find a place to live that they can afford.

The situation is similarly grim for pensioners, with just over 1% of rentals considered affordable for couples on the age pension and only 0.4% of the market suitable for single pensioners.

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The snapshot reveals that the problem is most acute in the Australian Capital Territory, where there were almost no affordable properties for most types of households.

Other areas with a similarly dire situation include the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Western Australia.

This year’s snapshot produced the worst result for renters earning the minimum wage, with just 345 rentals (0.8%) considered affordable, a significant decline from last year’s 720 rentals (1.6%). The findings of the snapshot illustrate the dire state of Australia’s rental market and highlight the urgent need for solutions to address the affordability crisis.

The rental affordability crisis in Australia is a complex issue requiring a multifaceted approach.

Ms Chambers believes building social and affordable rentals is the best solution to the rental crisis. In a release on the Anglicare website, she argued that the private market is not meeting the needs of those with low incomes and that building more general homes will not solve the affordability issue.

Australia’s social housing shortfall has reached 640,000 homes, exacerbating rental stress for those in need. Ms Chambers called on the government to address this shortfall in the upcoming budget by building more social homes and ensuring everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.

Anglicare has proposed several solutions to help alleviate the problem. One of their key suggestions is to increase the rates of federal government payments, such as JobSeeker and Commonwealth Rent Assistance, to make rental properties more affordable for those on low incomes.