Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

A Sunshine Coast family forced to live out of a caravan is among thousands who feel hard hit by a rental market that experts believe is “approaching disaster.”

The latest annual report based on the Rental Affordability Index (RAI) reveals that there has been a significant drop in affordability across some regions of Queensland where the rental price is now up.

RAI creator Adrian Pisarski said the new data showed a “pretty serious situation”.

“What we do is we compare rents based on all the bonds filed over the last 12 months with the incomes of rental households,” he said.

“We have seen a real decline in the affordability of rent for any household below about $ 80,000 a year.

“Most of Brisbane is unaffordable for households under $ 80,000 a year.

The hotspots that we have really identified in this index are down by the Gold Coast and up by the Sunshine Coast.

“So pretty much everything between Tweed Heads and Tewantin is unaffordable for households for $ 80,000 a year except for a few areas out towards Ipswich, or out towards Caboolture or some parts of Logan.

“And if you think about a retired couple who are likely to get $ 55,000 a year, there is absolutely nowhere in Southeast Queensland that we can find that they can rent at an affordable price, and that extends to a lot regional Queensland just off the coast. “

Sir. Pisarski said a “perfect storm” was currently unfolding in homes in Queensland, putting significant pressure on tenants.

The conditions included soaring housing prices, a congested public housing system and the COVID-19 pandemic, in which thousands of people moved to the state.

“There are a lot of people who are frustrated and can’t get into home ownership … they stay in the rental market and they tend to want to rent down so they can save as much of a deposit as possible to acquire home ownership.

“And it’s pushing out lower – income households that really need the affordable housing and that [adds] press all the way down into the system.

“The other factor in there is that investors, who are paying more and more for properties that they buy to put on the rental market, are chasing higher returns.”

Pisarski said the second concern was underinvestment in social housing at the lower end of the housing system.

“There are a lot of people in the rental market who really should be in social housing and pay much less of their meager income to buy housing, and that would take the pressure out of the rental market.

“The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute estimates that there are at least 1.3 million Australian households in rental stress in Australia – that’s a hell of a lot of people.”

‘You feel like a failure as a parent’

Parents and three children stand in front of a caravan.
The Nield family is now considering moving to Roma.(ABC News: Jessica Stewart)

Rob and Emma Nield and their three young daughters and two dogs currently live in a caravan in the backyard of their relatives’ home.

They paid $ 500 a week in rent in Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast and were given two months notice to move out due to the property owners’ sale.

Since then, they have not been able to find a new home.

“We asked if we could extend and stay for an extra three weeks until the kids finished school on December 10th. [The real estate] would not have a bar of it, “said Mrs. Nield.

“We got two months notice. I definitely thought we might have landed something at that time, but then you’re still stressed about trying to find a place, and then you have 30 to 40 other people on the property and then go you go and apply for them and someone will say, ‘I’ll give you 12 months’ rent in advance.’

“We can not afford that. It’s just not a good situation to be in.

“We have not had this problem before, we have rented all our lives.

“You have Christmas in four weeks and we can not even put a Christmas tree up for the kids.”

Emma is a nurse and works shifts, while Rob is unable to work due to several health problems.

“You feel like a failure as a parent,” Mr Nield said.

“We will never be able to buy a home that we would like and the only option is for us to go, go somewhere where it costs half the price.”

He said they were considering moving into the country, possibly to the Roma, to avoid high rental costs near the coast.

“It’s pretty hard on our mental health.”

‘Disaster approaching’

Houses in Brisbane Street
Most of Brisbane is unaffordable for households at $ 80,000 a year.(ABC News: Liz Pickering)

Pisarski said the situation would only get worse, not better, without significant intervention from federal and state governments.

“I think we’ve been in a crisis for quite some time and you know we’re approaching a catastrophic situation, especially for people like retirees and people at JobSeeker,” he said.

“And when you think that we are opening the borders for immigration, both from intergovernmental and overseas, then the situation will probably not get better because there will be further demand in the system on top of what is already there and turned out to be too much. “

According to Mr Pisarski, several measures could be taken to remedy the rental situation.

“I think the immediate thing we can do is increase Commonwealth rent support and income support payments so that people with the lowest incomes at least have a chance to pay their way.

“Secondly, we need to rebuild the social housing system in Australia, which has almost halved in the last 30 years.

“And we have to take the pressure out of housing prices. We can do that through the tax system and various other mechanisms, so that at all levels of our housing system we remove pressure instead of putting pressure in, as we have been. 30 years.”

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