Rents still not affordable for lower-income Western Australians

A new report has found rents are still not affordable for people on low incomes in Western Australia.

National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning recently released the Rental Affordability Index (RAI).

The index, which is released on a biannual basis, is an indicator of rental affordability compared with household incomes.

“It is clear Western Australia is seeing a marked improvement in rental affordability, which is good news,” Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said.

“However, the RAI is based on Western Australian households with an income of $85,000, and it is a much different picture for those people living under those incomes.

“For people on income support, for instance the Newstart allowance, rental properties are still extremely unaffordable.

“Also for people on very low incomes, which is less than 50 per cent of the median income of $85,000, most of Western Australia, including the city, remote, rural, and regional areas, remains unaffordable.

Shelter WA wants to see the development of more social housing to support Western Australians doing it tough.

“With more than 18,500 people on the social housing wait list in Western Australia and with an average wait time of three years, the housing needs of Western Australians who are most in need are not being met,” Mr Hall said.

“A key solution is to also encourage the development of more diverse and affordable private sector housing to meet the needs of Western Australians

“Increasing supports, such as Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA), can also raise the capacity of households on low incomes, so they can actively participate in society, and contribute back to the economy.”

Fact Box

• Western Australia is the only Australian jurisdiction where average household incomes for households that rent their accommodation are higher in regional areas than in metropolitan Perth.

• When housing is unaffordable, low income households pay a large proportion of their income on rent, often foregoing basic necessities. If this cannot be sustained, it can lead to homelessness.

• With over 18,500) people on the Housing Authority wait list and an average wait time of three years, the housing needs of Western Australians most in need are not being met.

• The average household that rents accommodation in greater Perth pays 21 per cent of its total income on rent – the most affordable of all the metropolitan areas in Australia.

• Some areas north of the river remain unaffordable to severely unaffordable, while some urban pockets can be further considered moderately unaffordable.

Please see the Rental Affordability Index (RAI)

Please see Rental Affordability Index (RAI) map.


Media Contact:  Stephen Hall, Shelter WA Spokesman   

(08) 9325 6660 or 0499770 245 or 0408426 263


16 May 2017