72,000 West Australians in rental stress

More than one in three households in Western Australia’s top five electorates for rental stress are struggling in housing they can’t afford, electorate data released today shows.1

When ranked, the electorate of Burt, located in the south-eastern suburbs of Perth tops the list with 36% of its 13,237 rental households experiencing rental stress.

The University of NSW analysis for the national housing campaign, Everybody’s Home is a seat-by-seat comparison which measures rents and incomes across electorates to identify the number of households in rental stress.

Burt is followed by Canning, 36%; Brand, 35% and then both Cowan, 34% and Forrest, 34%.

Shelter WA Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Mackenzie said “the analysis showed where Western Australia renters are suffering the most.

“The lack of social and affordable housing across Western Australia impacts on many people in our community. We are urging all political parties to develop policies to address housing affordability and end homelessness.”

In Burt, rents remained stagnant with a median of $350 per week, however incomes for the lowest income households have decreased by 4.5%.

“This shows that even though rents remained the same, people are now left with even less money to pay not only for rent but also all the other necessities due to the decrease in their disposable income. Due to this, people often have to make the tough choice in either paying for a roof over their head or a warm meal on the table. This data corroborates the dire situation for WA renters outlined in the Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot,” Michelle said.

National Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson, Kate Colvin said the data busted the myth that housing affordability is just an inner Melbourne or Sydney issue.

“The narrow focus on real estate prices for young home-buyers means that 72,000 Western Australian households in rental stress are being forgotten by governments at all levels,” Ms Colvin said.

“In Western Australia 28% of all households that rent are in rental stress, which is far too many people struggling to keep a roof over their head, as well as afford the basics of life.

“Underinvestment in social housing, increasing rents and low wage growth mean that low income earners, and middle-income earners are struggling.”

Ms Colvin said ahead of the Federal Election voters expect all parties to announce policies that will address the cost of housing – the biggest single cost of living for households.

The Everybody’s Home campaign is calling for the government to
1. Develop a national strategy to provide the national shortfall of 500,000 social and affordable homes;
2. Prioritise home buyers over investors by resetting the tax system;
3. Ensure a better deal for renters;
4. Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance to provide immediate relief for renters in chronic rental stress;
5. Support a national plan to end homelessness by 2030.

Media enquiries:

Shelter WA: Michelle Mackenzie 0419 931 819 | Everybody’s Home: Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280.

The Everybody’s Home campaign has united the not-for-profit housing, homelessness and community sectors with the nation’s largest charities in calling for leaders to fix Australia’s housing system so that everybody has a home.