Australia’s Overlooked Housing Crisis Is Becoming Increasingly Dire

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Despite Belinda submitting 100+ applications for rental homes in the past year, she has been heartbreakingly denied every time.

Now aged 39, the single mother of four from Australia currently resides in a temporary shelter in Campbelltown, southwest Sydney. She could be homeless soon with only six months to find an affordable home priced under 500 Australian dollars ($340) weekly.

I don’t know where I’m supposed to go after that. I have a house full of furniture that I don’t want to get rid of. I don’t want to get rid of my cat or my puppy,” said Belinda.

Year after year, the cost of rent has proliferated, and interest rates have consistently increased. These financial issues are combined with costly expenses and destructive natural disasters that make renting a home one of the world’s least viable options.

The latest Rental Affordability Index report from SGS Economics and Planning reveals that rental affordability is diminishing in all state capital cities this year. Meanwhile, the Anglicare study states that unemployed couples and single parents reliant on government assistance need help to find affordable housing options – with only 0.1% of rentals fitting their budget constraints.

The skyrocketing rent cost for those making minimum wage means they cannot keep up with their financial obligations. Sydney is ranked among Savills’ most expensive rental markets in the world, surpassing Miami and Paris. According to Demographia’s International Housing Affordability report this year, Sydney became the second-most expensive market globally; only Hong Kong was pricier.

You cannot afford a house on your own if you are only working one job,” said Maria, 46, a resident at a housing program run by the not-for-profit Dignity in Campbelltown.

We have seen increasingly at the lower end of the market, people on lower incomes, the supply of rental stock available to them is reducing quite significantly, so this could have spillover effects on homelessness,” said Cameron Kusher, Director of Economic Research at Data firm PropTrack.

Homeownership is at its least accessible levels in two decades, leaving renters struggling to compete with a surge of people who can no longer afford to purchase property due to skyrocketing housing costs.

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