Renting in Sydney out of reach for low income earners, rental affordability index suggests

By @pathakmishra on
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Sydney does not offer an affordable rental housing for low-income groups of eastern Blacktown. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

Sydney does not offer an affordable rental housing for low-income groups, who are forced to look for options out west, beginning from Blacktown. 

The Aussie city has been described as one of the least affordable cities when it comes to renting, according to the Rental Affordability Index, but the case for people with lower incomes becomes much worse.

The report, jointly launched by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning, and to be released quarterly, indicated that on average people were required to spend 28 percent of their income to cover their rent.

Housing stress is experienced when 30 percent of household income is spent on rent, meaning almost all renters in Sydney are on the threshold.

However, low-income families in NSW who earn only $500 a week go past that boiling point, and direct around 65 percent of their income to rent. This figure goes up to 70 percent for the lowest 40 percent of households in the state.

“There is effectively no affordable rental housing for people in that bottom 40 percent,” the ABC quoted housing advocacy group National Shelter’s Adrian Pisarski, as saying. “We knew the situation was bad, but I don’t think we understood properly the extremity and depth of the problem.”

The only affordable renting option for low-income groups in Sydney is west of Blacktown, Pisarski added, with options becoming cheaper the farther away you get from the city. This issue is replicated in regional NSW, with places like Orange and Dubbo also becoming increasingly unaffordable.

NSW Premier Mike Baird told the ABC that the government was trying to enhance affordable properties with new developments, but did not indicate firm target.

“There’s no doubt we have to do more. But the best thing we could possibly do is increase supply of housing,” he said.

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