Whether you have a mortgage, are renting, or are trying to get into the property market, Sydneysiders are Australia’s most stressed about housing, a new report shows.
The latest instalment of the Melbourne Institute’s study of Household Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA), shows that the high cost of accommodation in Australia’s biggest city has pushed “housing stress” to an all-time high.
The figures showed 13 per cent of Sydney households in the lowest 40 per cent of income earners spent more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, between 2013 and 2016.
It was an all-time record for the survey, which has been running since 2001.
The figure sits above Brisbane (10.5 per cent), Melbourne (9.7 per cent), Perth (8.8 per cent) and Adelaide (8.4 per cent).
HILDA professor Roger Wilkins said while housing stress has been around “for a while”, the study showed that it was increasingly associated with renting rather than home ownership.
“I think it largely reflects that interest rates are quite low and so once you get into the housing markets you might find mortgage repayments affordable,” professor Wilkins said.
“That picture changes when you look at renters — particularly in the inner urban areas of major cities, we are seeing quite high rents which are driving a lot of the results.”
High rents hit families, older women
Tenants’ Union of NSW senior policy officer Leo Patterson Ross said HILDA’s latest results were no surprise.
“Over the last few years, incomes have not been rising as fast as rents,” he said.
“Most of the media attention during the long property boom has been on house prices [and] most people who rent are not looking to buy a property because it is so far out of reach, especially for young people.
“We are seeing more-and-more people in their 30s and even 40s renting with their children and our rental system is very unstable.”
Mr Patterson Ross said the HILDA results highlighted the need for the NSW Government to look at rental reforms to make it more stable for families.
“We have a real focus in Australia on property ownership and we have turned every property owner into an investor even if you are living there,” he said.
“We need to step away from that and think about how Australia houses itself.
“Many young people are staying at home longer due to the high cost of housing, but this is only viable when their families are in stable accommodation, so renters are being doubly disadvantaged.”