Western Sydney’s rental stress is nation’s worst, new report warns
Western Sydney has been revealed as Australia’s home of rental stress — home to four of the country’s top six property pressure points, according to a new report.
- Rental stress occurs when a low earner spends more than a third of their income on rent
- The high cost of rent cuts into essentials such a food and drives up homelessness
- Research conducted by UNSW highlights western Sydney is being overburdened by population growth
The Federal electorate of Fowler is the nation’s worst for rental stress, while McMahon (third), Blaxland (fifth) and Watson (sixth) are also near the top of the list.
NSW electorates took 11 of the top 20 places on the national rental stress table, with the seats held by Labor or National Party MPs.
Rental stress occurs when a person in the bottom percent of earners pays more than a third of their income on rent.
The Everybody’s Home Campaign, a coalition of not-for-profits seeking to end homelessness, commissioned the report from the University of New South Wales.
They said the analysis busts the myth that housing affordability is an inner-city issue.
Australia’s worst electorates for rental stress
|Fowler||NSW||Bossley Park, Abbotsbury, Edensor Park, Wakeley, St Johns Park, Bonnyrigg, Canley Heights, Canley Vale, Fairfield East, Cabramatta, Warwick Farm, Chipping Norton, Liverpool|
|Richmond||NSW||Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby, Bangalow|
|McMahon||NSW||Penrith, Blacktown, Fairfield, Holroyd|
|Lyne||NSW||Port Macquarie – Hastings, Greater Taree, Gloucester, Dungog, Great Lakes|
|Blaxland||NSW||Auburn, Bankstown, Villawood, Regents Park, Georges Hall, Milperra|
|Watson||NSW||Ashfield, Bankstown, Campsie, Canterbury, Chullora, Croydon Park, Greenacre, Lakemba, Punchbowl, Rookwood, Belmore|
Campaign spokeswoman Kate Colvin said western Sydney electorates had absorbed a disproportionate share of Sydney’s population growth, which had helped drive demand for rental properties.
“In Fowler, rents increased by nearly 30 per cent between 2011 and 2016 and incomes for the lowest income household increased by just 5 per cent,” she said.
“It means a growing number of people are being stretched to the limits of what they can pay for rents and are often doing without meals and other essential items.”
Fowler’s population grew by over 15,000 people between 2011 and 2016, Blaxland by 16,000, McMahon by 22,000 people and Watson by 13,000 — compared to Warringah with an increase of just 534 people or Hughes with an increase of 2,600 people.
Rental stress was also driving a rise in homelessness.
In south western Sydney for example, homelessness increased by 61 per cent over a five year period.
The CEO of Shelter NSW, Karen Walsh, said low income households were vulnerable to homelessness because of a shortage of low-cost housing.
“They just need something to go wrong in their life, their working hours might be reduced, they might lose their job, if their car breaks down or they’ve got a particular expense to pay, that actually puts them backwards,” Ms Walsh said.
Ms Walsh said the NSW Government needed to increase the supply of social housing by at least 5,000 homes a year for next 10 years to help take pressure off.
The Everybody’s Home Campaign has also called on State and Federal governments to increase the supply of social housing.