Sydney’s skyrocketing rents are squeezing low-income earners, with a new report showing a dearth of affordable homes for people on the minimum wage and welfare recipients.
The Anglicare Sydney report shows less than 1 per cent of rental properties are suitable for households on government benefits and only 16 per cent were affordable for families with two adults earning the minimum wage.
Anglicare Sydney’s Rental Affordability Snapshot calls for a review of housing taxes and concessions, including negative gearing, and an increase in social housing to ease the pressure on low-income households.
Sue King, Anglicare Sydney director of advocacy and research, said the private rental market was beyond the reach of thousands of households without plunging them into rental stress, defined as paying more than 30 per cent of income on accommodation.
“Coupled with a chronic lack of social housing supply and a waiting list for public housing that can be more than 10 years, there are many families and individuals who are experiencing housing insecurity or are ultimately at risk of homelessness,” she said.
“Sydney has a desperate lack of social housing supply, with more than 59,000 NSW households currently on the waiting list. This is hardly surprising as there is an estimated overall shortfall of 100,000 affordable and available dwellings across NSW for individuals and families on very low to moderate incomes.”
The Rental Affordability Snapshot analysed 14,036 properties in greater Sydney listed for rent on April 11-12.
It found that only 58 were affordable and appropriate for households on government benefits without putting them into rental stress. No properties were considered to be affordable and appropriate for single people on Newstart, the disability support pension or the youth allowance.
Only 2248 of the properties were affordable for families with both adults earning the minium wage, and only 61 properties were affordable for singles earning the minimum wage of $640.90 a week.
Sydney’s tightest rental markets were in the inner west, Ryde, northern beaches and Sutherland, according to the report, forcing low-income earners to the city fringes.
When Chad Porter, 52, found a rental property at Blackett, near Mount Druitt, he considered himself lucky to have a roof over his head even thought it meant spending more than half his income on accommodation.
The single father of a 15-year-old daughter was working as a machine operator until an assault left him with a vision impairment. He spends $590 a fortnight in rent, a large chunk of his $1034 fortnightly Newstart payment.
“After I pay my rent I have hardly any money left, even for food,” he said.
“I have to buy my daughter medicine, the things she needs for school. It’s very rare that I buy meat and usually it might be sausages or maybe a bit of ham. I get food vouchers just so we can eat.”