MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday, April 27, 2017
The 2017 Rental Affordability Snapshot sounds a warning on our growing housing crisis and Anglicare Tasmania calls on both State and Federal governments for urgent action.
For eight years, Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot has demonstrated the harsh reality for people on low incomes in the private rental market. This year’s Snapshot sees an affordable home slipping further out of reach for even more Tasmanians.
“An affordable home that suits your needs is the cornerstone of a person’s life”, said Meg Webb, manager of Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre. “A home is more than just a roof over your head - it’s a sense of security, a part of your identity, it’s where you belong.”
“Ensuring access to an affordable home is the single most effective path to better outcomes in health, education, employment, and early childhood development in Tasmania,” said Ms Webb
“If we get housing right, we create a strong foundation for healthy individuals, happy families and successful communities.”
“For many households on low incomes, even going into rental stress and paying up to half of their income on rent provides very few options in the current rental market. This leaves no other choice but to push themselves into extreme rental stress.”
This is not sustainable, notes Ms Webb, “When you’re in rental stress, something’s got to give. Far too many Tasmanians have to choose what they will go without in order to pay rent. That might be heating, food, medical care, transport, clothing or children’s activities.”
On the first weekend in April there were 1363 properties advertised for rent in Tasmania, including houses, flats, and rooms in share houses.
“We were struck by the marked drop in the number of properties available for rent,” said Ms Webb. “There were fourteen percent fewer properties compared to the same time last year, and forty-nine percent fewer over the past five years.”
“This decline is most dramatic in the south of the state, with a decline of sixty one percent over five years.”
“With fewer and fewer properties available, there is a significant increase in competition for affordable rentals,” said Ms Webb. “With an increasing level of competition, those on the lowest incomes find it very difficult to secure a home.”
“It is no longer an option to tinker around the edges of the housing affordability issue,” said Ms Webb. “We need strategic and coordinated solutions from all levels of government, and we need them now.”
“Up-coming State and Federal Budgets must include: support for the development of more affordable housing for rent and purchase; incentives to encourage landlords to accept low-income households as tenants; initiatives to assist people into home ownership without pushing up house prices; and changes to the current tax settings to fund the necessary investment in housing.
“As a matter of urgency there must also be an increase to government income support payments to a level which meets the basic costs of living,” said Ms Webb.
Anglicare Tasmania reiterates its call on the State Government to use the $60m stamp duty windfall this year to invest in affordable housing supply in Tasmania.
“Sixty million dollars could make a real difference to the shortfall in affordable housing in this state,” said Ms Webb. “The State Government has an ideal opportunity to consolidate and expand its commitment to affordable housing and put this money to best use for Tasmanians feeling housing pain.”
On the weekend of the Snapshot, of the 1363 properties advertised:
- 64 were affordable for a single person on a Disability Support Pension
- 29 were affordable for a single parent with one child on Newstart Allowance
- 6 were affordable for a single person on Newstart Allowance
- 0 were affordable for a single young person on Youth Allowance, including rooms in share houses.