Zero rental affordability leaves vulnerable Victorians out in the cold

MEDIA RELEASE, Monday April 30, 2018

Vulnerable Victorians are locked out of the private rental market – with a new study revealing that affordability is approaching zero for many people on welfare benefits.

Anglicare’s 2018 Rental Affordability Snapshot, released today, shows only 1 per cent of private rentals in Melbourne, and 3 per cent statewide, are affordable for people on welfare benefits.

Anglicare Victoria Chief Executive Officer Paul McDonald said the snapshot reveals a bleak outlook for people on low incomes trying to find an appropriate, affordable rental.

The analysis of 13,744 homes advertised in late March finds:

  • Zero affordable homes in Victoria for a young person on Youth Allowance
  • Zero affordable homes in Victoria for a single person on Newstart
  • Virtually zero affordability in Melbourne for certain welfare recipients, including couples with kids, sole parents and single disability and aged pensioners.

It also shows having a job is no guarantee of finding an affordable rental. In Melbourne only 0.4 per cent of properties are affordable to a single on the minimum wage, and more than three quarters of homes are out of reach for households on a minimum wage.

“Private rental affordability in Victoria has hit rock bottom and is flatlining, delivering a great big zero for people on the lowest incomes,’’ Mr McDonald said.

“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to call home. Paying for the roof over your head should not leave you so out of pocket that you can’t put food in the fridge or pay your power bill.’’

Mr McDonald said the overheated rental market was forcing many people into homelessness and into overcrowded, unsafe and insecure housing.

“Young people forced out of foster care at 18 are becoming homeless or moving back into unsafe family situations,’’ he said.

“Sole parents and struggling families have no choice but to move into overcrowded share houses and many women and children remain in violent homes because they have nowhere else to go.’’

Mr McDonald said three strategies to address housing affordability were:

  • The Federal Government must agree to a major infrastructure investment into social housing
  • Lifting Newstart and Youth Allowance rates to an acceptable safety net rate
  • Better targeting of negative gearing to promote social and new housing.

He also called on the Victorian Government to extend the age at which young people can stay in foster care from 18 to 21.

“The extreme lack of affordable rentals for young people puts them at incredibly high risk of homelessness when they are forced to leave care at 18,’’ he said. “Extending care until 21 would play a major role in tackling youth homelessness.’’

Key data from the study is attached. Further Media Enquiries: E: P: (03) 9412 6173  

Read the full Victorian report here

About the Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot

The snapshot analysed 13,744 rental properties advertised in 48 local government areas (LGAs) in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.  It defines affordable rental as costing less than 30% of the household’s total income including wages, government income support payments and pensions, Commonwealth Rent Assistance and Family Tax Benefits. Appropriateness is defined by the number of bedrooms required for each household type to prevent overcrowding. The data was sourced from on Saturday 24 March 2018.

Key findings

Of the 13,744 homes advertised across Victoria:

414 (3.1 per cent) were affordable and appropriate for a household on welfare benefits.

4058 (29.5 per cent) were affordable and appropriate for a household on the minimum wage.

Of the 11,536 homes advertised in metropolitan Melbourne:

111 properties (1 per cent) were affordable for a household on welfare.

2776 (24.1 per cent) were affordable and appropriate for a household on the minimum wage.

Of the 2208 homes advertised in regional Victoria:

303 (13.7 per cent) were affordable and appropriate for a household on welfare benefits.

1282 (58.1 per cent) were affordable and appropriate for a household on the minimum wage.

In Melbourne:

  • The mean weekly rent across available rental properties in metropolitan Melbourne was $497.92 and the median weekly rent was $430 per week.
  • Both figures exceed the maximum weekly affordable rent for all income groups considered as part of this study.

In regional Victoria:

  • The mean weekly rent was $354.38 and median weekly rent was $330. These figures fall within maximum weekly affordable rent for only one of the income groups considered as part of this study; couples with two children (one aged less than five, one aged less than ten) where both adults receive the minimum wage.


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