Rental as anything: our national crisis
Once upon a time, in a land called Australia, the average person could actually afford to rent a house or a flat.
They could even pay this rent with a part-time job, working behind the bar or stacking shelves at the local supermarket. It was usually enough for a little on the side, too. You know, for stuff like food and paying the electricity and gas.
Here in 2012, that fairytale is over. Three million Aussie households are forced to live in rental properties they are struggling to pay for, and most people are coughing up more than 30 per cent of the average wage to do so.
Young people are among the worst affected, particularly those receiving Austudy, Newstart or Youth Allowance. But single parents, married couples with one income and people on disability pensions aren’t doing much better.
So says Anglicare, the charity run by the Anglican church of Australia, who spent last weekend reviewing 65, 000 rental properties around Australia with view to determining their suitability and affordability for low income families.
The result of this survey are ominous. Only four out of fifteen possible locations surveyed returned available properties for Youth Allowance participants. And there were little to no options for singles living on an Aged or Disability Support Pension in either Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.
It’s a bleak situation, made worse by the fact that it doesn’t include the rest of Australian rental population who are not receiving government benefits. Let’s not forget them.
The residential vacancy rates in all Australian capitals except Hobart tightened in February. That means there is another, huge group of middle income earners, with or without children or have never had the opportunity to save for a deposit and are now forced to into the competitive rental market.
In a perfect world these people with salaries would have already purchased the house of their dreams, with a backyard in a neighborhood of their choice. But thanks to the ridiculous property market, they are left with two choices – mortgage themselves to the eyeballs or stay in the rental cycle.
Now the differences between these two groups is considerable. One is lucky enough to have a regular salary, the other is not. One may be able to pay their rent without government support, the other can not. But at the end of the day, they share the same rental market and the same inflated prices that make everyday living beyond stressful.
Tweet me: @lucyjk
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