Cockburn Gazette - - RESIDENTIA­L -

TEN­ANTS, like buy­ers, are fac­ing af­ford­abil­ity is­sues, with a study find­ing lim­ited rental op­por­tu­ni­ties in the pri­vate sec­tor for low-in­come house­holds.

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). The study was a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Hous­ing Author­ity, Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of WA (REIWA) and Shel­ter WA.

While 35 per cent of pri­vate rental house­holds were very low or low in­come, only 19 per cent of pri­vate rentals were af­ford­able to this group, mean­ing many were liv­ing in hous­ing stress or in­ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing.

Of the 52,277 pri­vate rentals re­ported to dur­ing the 201516 fi­nan­cial year, only 3 per cent were af­ford­able to those on very low in­comes.

Though Perth’s rental mar­ket had been in a cycli­cal down­swing for the past few years, Hous­ing Author­ity strat­egy and pol­icy gen­eral man­ager Ta­nia Loose­lySmith said there was still a sig­nif­i­cant short­age of af­ford­able hous­ing for West Aus­tralians on low in­comes.

“By a range of mea­sures, this short­age has en­trenched over decades and deep­ened in the last 10 years,” she said.

“It af­fects our vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens, as well as the key work­ers who are the back­bone of our econ­omy.

“The Hous­ing Author­ity is com­mit­ted to ad­dress­ing these chal­lenges in order to en­sure WA fam­i­lies, our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and our econ­omy thrive.

“That said, achiev­ing these out­comes needs both Com­mon­wealth and State lead­er­ship.”

Ms Loosley-Smith said she wel­comed the Com­mon­wealth Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to es­tab­lish a Na­tional Hous­ing Fi­nance and In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and its fo­cus on mod­els to in­crease af­ford­able rentals for peo­ple on low in­comes.

Perth’s cen­tral sub­re­gion, which in­cludes Bassendean/Bayswa­ter, Bel­mont, Can­ning, Fre­man­tle, Melville, Perth City, South Perth/Vic­to­ria Park, Stir­ling East and West, Vin­cent/Stir­ling South East and the western sub­urbs plan­ning re­gions, con­tained the bulk of af­ford­able rental hous­ing in Perth.

While it pro­vided 65 per cent of af­ford­able hous­ing for very low in­come earn­ers and 49 per cent for low in­come earn­ers, only 4 per cent of rentals in the sub­re­gion were af­ford­able for very low in­come house­holds and 1`5 per cent were af­ford­able to low in­come house­holds. For very low in­come house­holds in the sub­re­gion, the largest pro­por­tion (19 per cent) of af­ford­able rentals was in the South Perth/Vic­to­ria Park re­gion.

For low in­come and low in­come up­per ($56,000$69,000) house­holds, the largest pro­por­tion of af­ford­able rentals (20 per cent) was in Stir­ling East.

About 18 per cent of rentals af­ford­able for mod­er­ate in­come house­holds were in Perth City.

The re­port also found the Perth rental mar­ket was heav­ily weighted to­wards larger prop­er­ties, with more than 70 per cent of rentals hav­ing three bed­rooms or more.

Smaller prop­er­ties (two bed­rooms or less) were con­cen­trated in the cen­tral sub­re­gion.

REIWA pres­i­dent Hayden Groves said hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity was a crit­i­cal is­sue for West Aus­tralians and the re­port em­pha­sised the glar­ing need for a greater em­pha­sis on the pro­vi­sion of af­ford­able, ac­ces­si­ble and ap­pro­pri­ate hous­ing op­tions.

“It is clear that the cur­rent stock of pri­vate rental ac­com­mo­da­tion does not meet the needs of our com­mu­nity and more needs to be done to ad­dress the re­quire­ment for choice and hous­ing di­ver­sity,” he said.

“The plan­ning sys­tem needs to man­date and ad­dress hous­ing di­ver­sity within the WA plan­ning sys­tem.”

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