LOW income earners cannot afford the majority of the appropriate rental houses for them in the Bega Valley, according to Anglicare’s annual national Rental Affordability Snapshot.
A house is considered affordable if the weekly rent is less than 30 per cent of the household’s fortnightly income, and it is appropriate if it has the right number of bedrooms for the family.
Anglicare NSW South and West community engagement coordinator Sarah Burnell said the survey did not look at such factors as neighbourhood type and access to public transport when determining suitability, which are other factors that could have an effect on low income earners financial situation.
Ms Burnell estimates that if more than 30 per cent of the household’s fortnightly budget is spent per week on rent, it will have an effect on their amenities, such as electricity, petrol and food.
Ms Burnell said the snapshot did not take into account houses that were priced over $350 per week, as that was deemed out of range for most low income earners.
Anglicare released information it had complied about what was the average affordable rent, meeting the 30 per cent of the households’ income.
The estimates of affordable rent vary, for instance a couple with two children living on the minimum wage earning $2190.02 per fortnight should pay a maximum weekly rent of $350.70.
A couple both living on Newstart allowances on an income of $1360.33 per fortnight should only pay a maximum of $226.25 rent per week.
A single parent with a child less than five on single parenting payment with a fortnightly payment of $1031.84 should pay the maximum $176.97 weekly rent.
A single person on fortnightly Newstart allowance of $510.50 should pay the maximum weekly rent of $82.55.
The BDN conducted surveys of real estate websites in order to see what the average rent per week was in the postcode 2550.
Realestate.com.au showed 25 rental properties ranging from $190 to $470 per week with an average price of $323.60 per week.
Allhomes.com.au showed 13 rental homes, which ranged from $150 to $1120 per week, with an average of $379.35.
Another survey by the BDN of the realestate.com.au website for holiday homes in the postcode 2550 showed 20 different properties available that ranged from $1200 to $6500 per week.
According to Ms Burnell holiday rental houses drive up the price of residential rent especially around the holiday peaks.
“In the Bega Valley the tourism market has played a really big impact,” Ms Burnell said.
Anglicare stated the wait time for most types of Housing NSW properties in the South Coast is upwards of five years, with some waiting more than 10.
Government funding arrangements to the NSW homeless sector have changed, causing uncertainty for many agencies that support homeless people, marginally housed people and those at risk of eviction.
Ms Burnell said that in order to address this housing situation the Government needs to increase payments to Newstart, and increase the supply of housing in the public department.
“Anglicare needs the government to come on board and provide the infrastructure and funds to help combat this housing problem,” Ms Burnell said.
Market priced beyond reach of many
THE findings of Anglicare’s Rental Affordability Snapshot show the struggle that many low income earners face when renting property.
"Although there has been an increase in the number of rental properties on the market compared to last year, there were still very limited affordable property options in Bega and the surrounding areas for the majority of low income household groups we surveyed," Anglicare community services NSW South and West director Simon Bennett said.
“Tourism has a major impact on the private rental market with regard to the popularity of holiday houses belonging to people who aren’t long term residents so while there might appear to be plenty of houses, the supply on the market remains low and the prices remain high.
“Young people have it particularly tough.
“The market is far beyond their price range and for some it can lead to couch surfing and homelessness.
“Benefit payments like Youth Allowance and Newstart need to increase by around $50 per week to keep up with the market.
“New public housing stock also needs to be built to reflect the changing needs of the population and so that tenants aren’t competing for the same properties.
“There needs to be more investment over the next ten years if we want to help lift thousands of people out of worsening poverty.”
Anglicare snapshot of unsuitability
THE results from Anglicare’s annual national Rental Affordability Snapshot of the Bega Valley suggest the majority of real estate in the region is not suitable both families and singles on low income.
Anglicare surveyed 118 properties advertised for rent in the Bega Valley and the snapshot looks at 13 different housing types which must satisfy the tests of being both affordable and appropriate to be considered suitable.
For the housing types that had two children the Snapshot was only applicable if one was aged less than five and one less than ten, and findings stated:
* There was no appropriate or affordable rental housing for a couple with two children when both adults were on Newstart allowance.
* For a couple with two children on the minimum wage 27.1 per cent of houses were suitable, however this is a decrease from 38.8 per cent of such houses in 2013.
* For a single parent with one child under five 1.7 per cent of houses were found to be suitable, which has changed from 2013 when none were found for this type.
* For a single parent with two children on single parenting payment or a single parent with one child aged over eight on Newstart there were no affordable or appropriate houses, which was the same in 2013.
* For a couple with no children on age pension there were 8.5 per cent of rental houses that were suitable, which had increased from 2013.
* No rental houses were considered affordable and appropriate for singles on age pension, disability support pension, Newstart allowance, disability support pension or youth allowance.
* For singles on the minimum wage 3.4 per cent of houses were considered affordable and appropriate, an increase from 2013.