Current at: 20 July 2007
The number of Australian families in rent stress is set to soar according to the Housing Industry Association.
Research undertaken by the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) and HIA indicates that over the next three years, the number of private renting households faced with having to commit 30 per cent of their income to rent could increase by 230,000 to about three quarters of a million households.
“Record rent rises, record low rental vacancy rates and rent auctions add up to a dismal picture of the present rental market, and without immediate action, many Australian households will be pushed closer to the poverty line,” Dr Silberberg said. A half of all households in the private rental market are vulnerable to becoming victims of rent stress.
“In the immediate period there is a compelling need for the Commonwealth and the States to provide jointly rent relief backed up by financial counselling. With the availability of rental accommodation under massive pressure there is also an urgent need to increase the supply of affordable rental housing.
A doubling of the depreciation allowance for affordable new investment properties as outlined in HIA’s A Fairer and Affordable Housing Plan would boost new rental supply and contain pressures on rents.
“Importantly, this measure would also provide an incentive for positively geared private and institutional investment in affordable rental accommodation,” Dr Silberberg said.
HIA also supports the National Housing Summit’s, National Affordable Rental Initiative (NARI). The initiative would provide Commonwealth and State Government assistance to developers, investors and community groups to provide new rental accommodation at below-market rents. NARI could be targeted to assist tenants in severe rental stress and areas where rental stock is under pressure.
HIA is also advocating the establishment of a Commonwealth funded $3 Billion, Residential Infrastructure Fund. The Fund would assist Local and State Governments in providing community and essential infrastructure.
“The fund would provide assistance contingent on planning reforms and reductions in red tape which are unnecessarily adding to the cost of new dwellings,” Dr Silberberg said.