More Sydney home owners and renters in housing stress than any other capital

Sydney has the highest number of renters as well as the highest percentage of mortgage holders at risk of falling into poverty, according to a new national study.

More than 106,000 people who rent in Sydney face difficulties meeting the basic costs of living, according to Housing Costs Through the Roof, a report compiled by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra on behalf of Australians for Affordable Housing.

The report examined households that earned the lowest 40% of incomes – taking family size into account – who spend 30% or more of their earnings on rent or mortgage payments.

On this basis, over 73,000 or 12% of mortgage holders in Sydney are in housing stress, with the figures even higher for first-home buyers, with 15% (just over 15,000) struggling to make ends meet.

Nationally, the report found that one in 10 households (over 850,000) are in housing stress, with the highest rates of housing stress felt by renters and first-home buyers, with 26% of renters and 15% for first-home buyers in housing stress.

In percentage terms, Hobart has the highest number of renters in housing stress, with one in three falling into this category. In addition, more than a quarter (26%) of Hobart first-home buyers are in mortgage stress, despite the Tasmanian capital having one of the cheapest housing markets and the smallest average first-home loan at under $195,000.

Other key findings of the report are that first-home buyers in Melbourne are more likely to experience housing stress than those in Sydney while Commonwealth Rent Assistance recipients in Adelaide had the highest rates of rental stress.

Commenting on the findings, Australians for Affordable Housing campaign manager Sarah Toohey says there is “an entrenched and significant group of people in Australia who face day-to-day hardship because of their housing costs, but it doesn’t have to be this way”.

“There are clear actions that governments can take to improve housing affordability and take the pressure off these households,” she says.

“A secure home is a fundamental building block for everything else we do in life. We need to create a housing system that works for everyone.”

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer


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