Rental Affordability Index

Rents still remain extremely unaffordable


National Shelter, Community Sector Banking, SGS Economics & Planning and the Brotherhood of St Laurence have released the latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) report.

The RAI is a price index for housing rental markets. It shows the rental affordability of housing relative to household incomes, across geographic areas in Australia.

A single person on Newstart pays a large amount of income on rent

This year’s index reveals that rents still remain extremely unaffordable for very low- and low-income households in Western Australia.

It shows that a single person on Newstart allowance faces an untenable rental situation, as they must spend all their income on rent. This means they must make difficult decisions about having a place to call home, or the basic necessities of living like food or utility bills.

However, the situation is not only critical for people on Newstart. Perth is extremely unaffordable for pensioners, with single pensioners paying 65 per cent of their income on rent.

Older people forego food to cover rent

Shelter WA is concerned that older people, especially women are becoming more at risk of homelessness. Paying such a large proportion of their income just on rent, means they have to make sacrifices regarding utilities, food, medicine or transport.

We need system change in order to address rental affordability and housing choice for all West Australians.

Increased investment in social and affordable housing is one of the solutions

Shelter WA is urging State and Federal Governments to implement the following actions:

  • Increase investment in more diverse social and affordable housing supply, including increasing initiatives such as the Assisted Rental Pathways program;
  • Harness the strengths of the community housing sector to facilitate new Commonwealth and institutional investment into more diverse, affordable housing products;
  • Reform the planning system to require new developments to include a minimum of 30 per cent social and affordable housing choice;
  • Increase Newstart and Commonwealth Rent Assistance; and
  • Reform social housing to maximise independence and transition opportunities while retaining a safety net for those in need.

To read the Shelter WA media release regarding the Rental Affordability Index click here.