Community welfare advocate Anglicare assessed online rental advertisements on April 14 for affordability.
Of the 8266 available properties listed on realestate.com.au and Gumtree, Anglicare found just three were suitable for a family of two Newstart recipients with two children.
Not a single Brisbane property was suitable for a single pensioner, while just 27 were affordable for a couple on the pension.
Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said the high prices could push low-income earners, including young families and the aged, into unsuitable accommodation such as share houses.
“The private rental market is responding to the pressures of demand, and for investment return, with boarding house-style accommodation where renters lease a room or even a bed in a communal bedroom,” she said.
“Realtors act as off-site property managers, renting individual rooms in a single property to independent tenants via separate leases.”
The study shed no light on what options low-income earners were using when seeking accommodation.
Australian Pensioners’ and Superannuants’ League Queensland state secretary Raymond Ferguson said the problem would only get worse for the elderly.
Mr Ferguson said there were about 38,000 applicants for public housing in Queensland and about a third of those were pensioners.
As baby boomers retired, he said, that proportion would rise.
“Ten to 15 years ago, the ownership of homes among pensioners was around 85 per cent,” he said.
“It’s now slipped to 75 per cent, which is a reflection on the fact that many people retiring from the workforce are retiring in a rental position.
“Once they retire, of course, it’s too late to even consider purchasing a home.”
Mr Ferguson said Australia had not done enough to prepare for the impending tidal wave of retirees, who will stretch resources within the next decade.
“Has the horse bolted? Well, it’s certainly out of the stable but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t be reined in,” he said.
“But it can only be reined in if the governments allocate proper resources and give proper attention to this serious social crisis that we’re facing.”
Mr Ferguson said all levels of government needed to make more affordable housing available.
Ms Chambers said it was “imperative” housing policy was prioritised by all levels of government.
Queensland Housing Minister Tim Mander said there was “no doubt” the rental market was challenging for people on social security or living on the minimum wage.
“The National Rental Affordability Scheme, I think, plays a very important part in this,” he said.
“Just today, I was at a building site in New Farm where there’s 51 units being built under NRAS. That was an ideal site and an ideal facility for those who are ageing, particularly for over-55s.
“We want to see more of that and NRAS plays an important part in delivering those kinds of results.”
Mr Mander said while there would always be a need for social housing, the government also provided bond loans and the Rentconnect program to help people get into the rental market.
“It’s not just simply about providing social housing as the only option, because that’s just not going to work,” he said.
“We’ve got to be able to provide products that help people get into the private rental market and these products we have promoted quite strongly are having an impact.”
Story from Brisbane Time full link here