COVID-19 and Mortgage and Rental Payments

There is little high quality nationally representative data on the level of housing stress being experienced during the COVID-19 period or on the extent to which Australians have been able to reduce their mortgage and rent payment in light of government policies enabling this.

The number of Australians who couldn’t pay their rent or mortgage on time has more than doubled due to COVID-19, new data from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.

The survey of more than 3,200 people shows the proportion of Australians not being able to meet their regular housing costs jumped from 6.9 per cent in April to 15.1 per cent in May.


The introduction of physical distancing and other isolation measures due to COVID-19 gave rise to concerns that the negative economic consequences resulting from these policies would lead to people not being able to pay their mortgage or rent. In response, the Australian and State/Territory governments implemented a number of policies to assist Australians with their housing and their mortgage/rental payments.

This paper provides an analysis of the housing circumstances of Australians using data from the second wave of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods’ COVID-19 impact monitoring survey program, collected during the second half of May 2020.

Click here to read the report from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.