Housing stress increases as average income stalls

RENTAL STRESS: A new report has found that rising rental prices are putting South Coast renters under a lot of financial pressure.
RENTAL STRESS: A new report has found that rising rental prices are putting South Coast renters under a lot of financial pressure.

The Shoalhaven is one of the least affordable areas for renters, according to a new report. 

Released on Tuesday, the Affordable Housing Income Gap Report by Compass Housing measured the affordability of housing for Australian renters. 

The report found that renters in both the Kiama and Shoalhaven regions are experiencing ‘housing stress’ due to rising rental price and stalling average income. 

Housing or rental stress occurs when more than 30 per cent of household income is spent on rent. 

According to the report, the Shoalhaven ranked as one of the least affordable local government areas in regional NSW. 

The median rental price in the Shoalhaven is $370 per week, with households spending more than 37 per cent of their weekly wage on rent.

The report states the median household income would need to rise from $54,496 per year ($1048 per week) to $64,116 per year ($1233 per week) to avoid housing stress in the Shoalhaven. 

Rental affordability in Kiama is one of the worst in the Sydney metro area, the report found. 

With an average weekly household income of $1387 and an average rental price of $500 per week, 36 per cent of renters’ total income is being spent on housing. 

The report found the average household income would need to increase from $72,124 per year to $86,684 per year to take renters out of financial stress. 

According to the findings, housing stress is particularly severe in “commuter belt” cities close to major cities.

The findings are consistent with long term median rent data showing that since 2000, it has been the nominally more affordable outer suburbs and satellite cities surrounding Sydney and Melbourne that have experienced the largest rental increases.

Despite rents in regional NSW being substantially lower than Sydney, detached housing throughout much of regional NSW remains unaffordable for typical renting households due to their relatively lower incomes.

According to the latest Census data, the median Shoalhaven weekly household income is $992, while the median household weekly income in Sydney is $1949 per week.  

The report recommends the creation of a national housing plan with initiatives crossing all levels of government.

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