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The latest Rental Affordability Snapshot (RAS)

The latest Rental Affordability Snapshot (RAS) found that the number of affordable rental properties available in Tasmania continues to shrink. Anglicare’s Social Action Research Centre (SARC) launched its latest RAS report on Thursday 27 April 2017.

‘An affordable home that suits your needs is the cornerstone of a person’s life,’ said Meg Webb, manager of SARC. ‘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.’

‘This year we found there were only 1363 properties advertised for rent in Tasmania over the first weekend in April, compared with 1588 in 2016,’ said Meg.

That’s 14 per cent fewer rental properties compared with this time last year and 49 per cent fewer rental properties compared with the number of properties advertised over the snapshot weekend in April 2013.

For eight years, Anglicare Tasmania has produced the RAS as a measure of rental affordability in this state. The report is undertaken in conjunction with the national Anglicare network and contributes to a national Rental Affordability Snapshot.

‘This year’s snapshot indicates that Tasmania’s private rental market remains dire for single adults and young people. But, the biggest change this year has been fewer affordable properties for minimum wage families in both the south and north of the state,’ said Meg.

‘We are particularly concerned that affordable rentals seem to be getting further out of reach even for those families where both parents work in minimum wage jobs.

To highlight some figures from the Snapshot, of the 1363 properties advertised for rent in Tasmania:

• 64 were affordable for a single person on a Disability Support Pension (3 in the south, 9 in the north, 52 in the north west)

• 29 were affordable for a single parent with one child on Newstart Allowance (all  were located in the north west)

• 6 were affordable for a single person on Newstart Allowance (3 in the south, 3 in the north, 0 in the north west)

• 0 were affordable for a single young person on Youth Allowance, including rooms in share houses.  (Even when going into rental stress and paying up to half their income in rent, only 10 per cent state-wide became available, in the south of the state it was as low as 4 per cent)

The southern and northern rental markets were particularly tough for single parents reliant on government income.

Mel, a single mother of two who is currently experiencing rental stress, attended the RAS launch and spoke about the reality of managing on a low income in an unaffordable rental market and the impact this has on her family.

‘I have to pay more than I can afford on rent now which is a struggle, and I’m trying my best to make it work,’ said Mel. ‘But even harder is the uncertainty about the future, the lack of options and fear of not knowing if we will have a home.’

‘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 Meg. ‘If we get housing right, we create a strong foundation for healthy individuals, happy families and successful communities.’

Addressing housing affordability is the responsibility of all levels of government, and requires the involvement of both the private and community sectors.

Achieving real and enduring change will need a long term, strategic and coordinated approach that should be guided by a National Affordable Housing Plan.

Bi-partisan commitment to the development and implementation of a long term Plan would elevate this issue above short-term budget and election cycles.

As a starting point, Anglicare advocates that 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. 

‘It is no longer an option to tinker around the edges of the housing affordability issue. We need strategic and coordinated solutions from all levels of government, and we need them now.’

 


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