CANBERRA, AAP – More than half of all renters in some major capital city federal electorates are living in housing stress, according to new data.
Figures released on Monday by housing advocacy group Everybody’s Home showed renters in outer suburban and coastal seats were most affected by housing stress and surging rent costs.
Housing stress is defined when a household is spending more than one-third of its gross income on housing costs such as rent.
The data from Everybody’s Home revealed the NSW electorate of Macarthur in southwest Sydney had 76.5 per cent of renters in housing stress, while the rates in other Sydney seats like Chifley in the city’s west or Mitchell in the northwest was at 73 per cent.
In the electorate of Bruce in Melbourne’s southeast, housing stress was at 64 per cent, while Longman in Brisbane’s east was at just under 60 per cent.
Regional electorates were also impacted, with housing stress above 60 per cent in Robertson, Dobell, Gilmore, Lyne, and flood-ravaged Cowper and Page in NSW, as well as Corio in Victoria.
Spokeswoman for Everybody’s Home Kate Colvin said the figures highlighted the need for more social housing.
“There is no time to waste, we need an urgent commitment from the treasurer to invest in social housing in the upcoming federal budget. Millions of Australians are counting on it,” she said.
“Investing in social housing is more than just providing everyone a place to call home. It will also provide our economy with a significant economic boost.”
It comes as more than 150 organisations dealing with housing and homelessness have signed an open letter to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, calling for a bigger investment in social housing.
“Every Australian deserves the security and stability of a home,” the open letter says.
“But after a year of surging rents and house price growth, an increasing number of low and middle-income Australians face severe housing stress or the risk of homelessness.”
The open letter says rents across the country have risen by more than nine per cent in the year to December 2021.
“By contrast wages grew on average only 2.2 per cent,” the letter said.
“These rent rises are having a devastating impact on rental affordability.”
Ms Colvin said housing affordability should remain a key priority for the government ahead of the budget on March 29, and the upcoming election.
“The upcoming federal budget represents a unique opportunity for Treasurer Josh Frydenberg which cannot be wasted,” she said.
“Failure to deliver more social housing will further exacerbate what is already a developing social crisis.”