5.9k Share this
The price of renting in Australia’s regional centres has grown by almost 20 per cent in just two years, prompting experts to warn of a national housing emergency.

A new report from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and UNSW Sydney shows that regional rents are now 18 per cent higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, while wages in the same period have only grown by 6 per cent.

The Australian findings mirror those found in other markets such as the UK and the US, where rent inflation in 2021 reached levels not seen since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

Regional rents have increased by 18 per cent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sam Mooy)

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said low-income regional residents are copping the brunt of the increases, which cannot be covered by CPI-linked benefits increases that are indexed to capital city rents.

“With private rentals already in short supply before the recent devastating floods, soaring rents, and a severe shortage of social housing options, we’re in the middle of a renting crisis in many parts of regional Australia,” Dr Goldie said.

“In flood-affected areas, it’s clear the rental market cannot house the families on low and middle incomes who have been made homeless temporarily – the real concern is that this then becomes permanent.”

A flooded Vincent Street, Auchenflower in Brisbane, Australia.
There are fears that renters displaced by the floods will become trapped in a cycle of homelessness. (Getty)

Dr Goldie said a greater supply of social housing in regional centres, particularly those hit worst by natural disasters such as floods, is desperately needed to bring asking rents down.

“We need immediate Federal Government action to help house people made homeless in flood-affected communities,” Dr Goldie.

“But COVID and the floods are only aggravating a national rental problem that has been building for years. After a decade of Commonwealth neglect on social housing we badly need a major national building program that starts to remedy this, with a sizeable part of the investment going to the regional centres facing the greatest stress.”

It found that while many countries took far-reaching measures to maintain incomes and safeguard housing during the pandemic, almost all saw asking rents explode once government intervention ended.

A rapid rise in working from home may be pushing cashed-up city dwellers to consider regional rental properties. (Peter Rae)

Lead author Professor Hal Pawson said social and economic policies during the pandemic offered a temporary view of how Australia could be.

“Just as in most other countries in our study, Australia’s emergency income protection and also housing policy measures triggered by the pandemic went well beyond what anyone would have previously imagined,” Professor Pawson said.

“Just for a brief moment we had a tantalising glimpse of cities with street homelessness greatly reduced and a rental housing market where evictions were drastically cut.

“But since the experience has prompted virtually no permanent reforms of social security or rental housing regulation, governments appear to have resisted learning lessons from the episode.”

An abandoned house in Gulargambone. Low income earners in regional towns are struggling to make rent with benefits that are linked to capital city prices. (Janie Barrett)

Emma Greenhalgh, CEO of low-income housing organisation National Shelter, said we are now in a housing emergency that has been brewing for years.

“This report demonstrates the missed opportunities of the past two years to capitalise on the initial positive responses by governments to address housing and homelessness issues during COVID, and create a housing legacy from the pandemic by investing in social and affordable housing,” Ms Greenhalgh said.

“We are in a national housing emergency that has been a long time in the making, compounded by COVID and climate disasters. There is a lack of urgency by the Federal Government to this crisis.

Bondi Beach property sells for $1 million over reserve

“The development of a national housing strategy to respond to this crisis is critical.”

Source: 9News

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like

Trump says Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter is probably illegal

Donald Trump has lashed out at Elon Musk, calling the billionaire’s $44…

Rebekah Vardy DENIES reports she and husband Jamie ‘want to flee Britain to live in the USA’

Rebekah Vardy has denied that she is set to flee the UK…

Labor seeks injunction against ‘deceptive’ election signs in Higgins, Melbourne

Deceptive political signage telling Greens voters “put Labor last” has appeared in…

Brisbane clean-up bill grows to $660 million

Council is beginning to determine which repairs to prioritise, but the costs…

Moving to Kentucky ‘Reminds You that Hollywood Is Not America’

Pop star Katy Perry is confessing something few of her elite liberal…

Finally a police chief who’ll fight crime not culture wars, writes JENNI MURRAY

Logging on to my busy and informative neighbourhood app on a daily…

JOHNNY DEPP VS. AMBER HEARD TRIAL LIVE: Johnny Depp’s ex Ellen Barkin is set to give evidence


Joel was suddenly thrust into a foster care home at seven

Joel Kleber will never forget the day his life changed course in…