71,000 affordable homes needed in regional NSW

Greens spokesperson on Affordable Housing Jan Barham has called on the NSW Government to address the shortfall of 71,000 affordable homes in regional NSW.

“Unaffordable housing is not just a Sydney issue. Right now, there are thousands of households across regional NSW that are struggling to pay the rent”, said Ms Barham.

“Latest data shows that 71,000 low-income renter households in regional NSW are in housing stress. They are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on household costs, which, for many, means foregoing other essential goods and services to keep a roof over their head.”

“NSW is experiencing gentrification of not only city-based suburbs but also in some coastal regional areas, which are suffering from affordable housing crisis due to the popularity of locations.”

“As at December 2014, only 23,964 dwellings were considered affordable for a low-income household in regional NSW. In Coffs Harbour, 10.6% of rentals were affordable for a very-low income household and in Byron that figure was 3.7%[1].”

“This data is consistent with Anglicare Australia’s mapping of rental affordability in regional areas. Its latest report showed that while there is greater availability of affordable rentals for people earning the minimum wage, most households on income support payments cannot afford rent in the regions[i].”

Ms Barham said that the lack of affordable housing in the regions means that people are resorting to living in overcrowded housing, caravans and their cars because they cannot find an affordable home.

“It’s unacceptable that in NSW we have people living in caravans and cars because of the huge shortage of social and affordable housing. These circumstances impact on people’s wellbeing as housing stress equates to emotional stress. More must be done with planning rules to support those who are vulnerable in this current housing crisis.”

“The data shows that while the NSW Government’s announcement of 6,500 additional social and affordable dwellings is a good first step, it barely scratches the surface of what’s needed to address the affordable housing crisis across the state.”

For further comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

 

  1. Number of NSW renting households in housing stress outside of Sydney

Table 1 

This graph shows that in the 2011 Census, 45,217 very-low income households (those earning less than 50% of the median income for the area) pay more than 30% of their income in rent and associated household costs. Very-low income households generally receive a pension or other income support payment. The graph also shows there were 26,456 low-income households in housing stress. Low income households earn more than 50% but less than 80% of the median income for the area. These totals exclude the Sydney area.

  1. Percentage of housing stress in selected NSW regions

Table 2 

Almost all very-low income households in NSW areas outside of Sydney are in housing stress, with 87% paying more than 30% of their income on household costs. Low-income households fare better, but the majority (54%) are considered to be in housing stress.

  1. Percentage of affordable rental stock for people on very low and low incomes, selected NSW regions

Table 3

There is some variation in the selected NSW regions in affordability of rental stock, with North Coast regions showing limited availability, particularly for very-low income households. The selected inland areas showed higher rates for both very-low and low income households, but affordable stock still fell short of demand.

  1. Numbers of very-low and low-income households in housing stress and the number of affordable rental housing stock, selected regions, December 2014

Untitled

This graph illustrates the shortfall of affordable rental housing in the selected regions to meet demand. The number of very-low and low-income households exceeds the number of affordable rental stock as at June 2011. While this data is slightly outdated, the number of affordable rental housing stock for low-income households as at December 2014 has declined in all the selected regions except for Orange, Dubbo and Albury, which saw slight increases.

 

Data collated using the Housing Kit Data Base, http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/centre-for-affordable-housing/nsw-local-government-housing-kit/local-government-housing-kit-database/2011-census-database

[1]Households described as being ‘very low income’ are those earning less than 50 percent of the NSW or Sydney median income, depending on where they live.

Households earning more than 50 percent but less than 80 percent of the NSW or Sydney median income are described as earning a ‘low income’ (http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/centre-for-affordable-housing/about-affordable-housing/who-are-very-low-to-moderate-income-earners)

[i] Anglicare Australia (2015) ‘Rental Affordability Snapshot’ http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/rental-affordability-snapshot-2015.pdf p.5