Rental af­ford­abil­ity in fo­cus

Pilbara News - - Property - Hay­den Groves Hay­den Groves is the pres­i­dent of the Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of WA.

Al­though af­ford­abil­ity has im­proved in Perth’s rental mar­ket for ten­ants over the past three years, with the me­dian weekly rent price fall­ing by $90 to $360 a week since the March quar­ter of 2014, the cost of liv­ing re­mains a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue for many peo­ple in Perth’s pri­vate rental sec­tor.

The Hous­ing Author­ity, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with REIWA and Shel­ter WA, re­leased a rental af­ford­abil­ity study re­cently which high­lighted the chal­lenges low-in­come and very low in­come house­holds are fac­ing in the State cap­i­tal’s rental mar­ket.

The study, Hous­ing Af­ford­abil­ity (Rental) — A Study for the Perth Metropoli­tan Area, looked at rental af­ford­abil­ity for house­holds on very low (less than $43,000), low ($43,000-$69,000) and mod­er­ate in­comes ($69,000-$103,000), and found there were in­suf­fi­cient af­ford­able rental op­tions in Perth’s pri­vate rental sec­tor. It also found the lack of op­tions for this in­come bracket was plac­ing pressure on the re­gion’s so­cial hous­ing sys­tem, and that while 35 per cent of Perth rental house­holds fell into the lower in­come brack­ets, only 19 per cent of ren­tals in Perth ac­tu­ally catered to ten­ants earn­ing very low or low in­comes.

Anaemic wages growth and un­der­em­ploy­ment have not helped the sit­u­a­tion de­spite re­cent falls in rental val­ues.

Rental af­ford­abil­ity is an im­por­tant is­sue for our State and the re­port highlights the need for a greater em­pha­sis on af­ford­able, ac­ces­si­ble and ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing op­tions.

The study also re­vealed the lack of di­ver­sity avail­able in Perth’s rental stock, with more than 70 per cent of all ren­tals in the metropoli­tan area be­ing larger homes with three or more bed­rooms, there­fore com­mand­ing a higher rent.

Ad­di­tion­ally, it re­vealed the cen­tral sub-re­gion con­tained the bulk of af­ford­able hous­ing in Perth, pro­vid­ing 65 per cent of af­ford­able hous­ing for very low-in­come earn­ers and 49 per cent for low-in­come earn­ers.

Clearly there is a dis­par­ity in our pri­vate rental sys­tem which needs to be ad­dressed.

The cur­rent stock of rental ac­com­mo­da­tion in Perth does not meet the needs of our com­mu­nity and more needs to be done to ad­dress the re­quire­ment for choice and hous­ing di­ver­sity in this State. The pri­or­ity of the McGowan Gov­ern­ment to de­liver and im­ple­ment Metronet and its hubs will be an im­por­tant as­pect of ad­dress­ing some of the chal­lenges we face in pro­vid­ing more di­verse hous­ing op­tions to our com­mu­nity, but Metronet is not the panacea en­tirely.

We need to make sure hous­ing op­tions are ad­dressed across the whole spec­trum, from pub­lic and so­cial hous­ing, through to af­ford­able home­own­er­ship, pri­vate rental and pri­vate home own­er­ship. Specif­i­cally, these is­sues need to be ad­dressed within the WA plan­ning sys­tem along­side fed­eral tax­a­tion set­tings to en­sure all West Aus­tralians have ac­cess to af­ford­able and ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing.

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