According to a recent 2016 Federal Election survey (1,541 respondents) conducted by Australia’s leading website dedicated to rental property, Rent.com.au, more than 83% of Renters have reported that their needs have not been acknowledged by the major political parties during the election campaign and feel unsupported as a renter living in Australia.
While housing affordability continued as a key issue in the final days of the Federal Election campaign, Renters are calling for more support, improved services, financial incentives and the recognition of renting as an accepted lifestyle choice in Australia.
An overwhelming majority of respondents stated that rents are still too high (95%), and although nearly a quarter of respondents were happy renting with no intention of buying a house (26.6%), more than half of those surveyed (57.5%), believe that renting is still not an accepted lifestyle choice, with the nation remaining firmly attached to ‘home ownership’ and the ‘great Australian dream.’
When asked to rank the key election issues in order of importance, they placed Health (26.8%), Housing (25.5%) and Economy (25.4%) clearly above Safety and Security (9.3%), Environment (8.1%) and Education (8.2%), respectively.
Renters indicated the price bracket best describing their weekly rental payments were mostly in the $350 – $700 bracket (49.06%), followed by the $150-$350 bracket (41.96%).
According to Rent.com.au Founder, Mark Woschnak, the rental demographic in Australia is on the rise consistent with global trends: “Australia’s 7 million Renters make up a significant proportion of around 30% of the population and this number is steadily increasing. ”
This upward trajectory in renter demographics, particularly in the 18-35 age range reflects a growing market, and one in need of more advocacy and recognition. “While housing affordability remains a major priority, renters are also calling for improved services, more options and the acceptance of renting as a respected lifestyle choice, as it is in other parts of the world. ”
“In Australia, we appear to be at a point of increased momentum in the vocalisation of the needs of renters and we’re seeing a shift from the traditional stereotypes that have existed around home ownership. There is no doubt that an increase in housing affordability issues, job mobility, lifestyle and investment preferences, is causing this trend.
“Our data confirms renters are tired of being viewed as second class citizens and disregarded as not having the same respect towards their property as an owner. A rental property is a person’s home and lifestyle choice. A more balanced view is required and we’re committed to proactively addressing it. “We welcome increasing coverage of this trend which Rent.com.au’s rent reports and national surveys continue to illustrate. The coverage is imperative to ensuring that the needs of renters remain top of mind, regardless of changing political landscapes.
“Renting has long been a major part of the real estate industry, albeit largely overlooked and underserviced when compared to the property sales and home buying sector, and looks set to increase in its importance and prominence.
“Whether renters are investing, renting or working towards home ownership, we will continue to look closely at this core demographic and work to facilitate better communication, services and support within the entire renting process.”