Rents in WA still largely unaffordable despite recent improvement

Australia’s first ever Rental Affordability Index reveals the ongoing depth and extremity of housing stress faced by moderate and low income renters in WA’s rental market, despite recent improvements to affordability due to the end of the mining boom.

The report shows that while there have been real improvements in rental affordability since the end of the mining boom, both low and moderate income households have not equally shared in these improvements. As a result they are still suffering housing stress and in many cases poverty due to high rental costs.

A map of rental affordability across the country shows that the North West, Broome, parts of the South West and most of Perth is unaffordable.

Spokesperson for Shelter WA, Louise Pratt said, “The report paints a dire picture for low income households, with single income households being the worst off overall. High rental costs are now locking low and moderate income households into renting on Perth’s fringes while the North West remains unaffordable.

“Housing stress can occur when households pay more than 30% of their income on rent.  Low income households in WA earning $500 a week need to pay around 57% of their income on rent. This means that for low income households rents remain extremely unaffordable, despite recent market improvements. Rent is a big factor driving household stress and poverty for those on moderate to low incomes.”

“The proportion of people renting in WA continues to increase and as this report shows housing affordability is a much bigger problem for renters than owner occupiers. The unaffordability of rents and the lack of security for renters in the market means we really need both state and national policy responses.  Otherwise, the problem and household poverty will continue to grow.”

The Rental Affordability Index has been released by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics & Planning.

View the Rental Affordability Index and Report here.