Affordable housing scheme wound

back amidst record low NSW rental

vacancy rates

Media release

6 April 2023

New data reveals Sydney is now the most expensive place to rent in Australia while rental vacancy rates across NSW are at record lows, putting further pressure on tenants as a rental subsidy scheme continues being wound back.

Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW) has called for urgent action from the NSW Labor Government following the release of the latest CoreLogic data, which shows a 12.6% year-on-year surge of rental prices and a drop in vacancy rates to 1.2 percent across Sydney.

These alarming figures come at the same time as the Federal Government winds back the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) which has provided thousands of homes with rental subsidies in NSW since it was introduced in 2008.

NSW will continue to lose NRAS properties in 2023 and by the time the scheme ends in 2026, almost 2,400 affordable housing properties are expected to be lost.

A further 2,500 NRAS properties will be retained as affordable rental housing by community housing providers who will be forced to cover the gap left by the subsidy.

CEO of CHIA NSW Mark Degotardi said winding back the NRAS in the current housing crisis will have disastrous impacts and take rental affordability in NSW backwards unless ongoing rental subsidies and significant investment in social and affordable housing supply are prioritised.

“The current state of the private rental market is a train-wreck. People who are evicted from ex-NRAS properties will be condemned to an unwinnable battle of finding rental housing,” Mr Degotardi said.

“Evicted families will be forced to compete in the unaffordable private rental market, which means they may have to move away from their hometowns to find housing, leaving behind their schools, work, and communities.

“A short-term solution is to provide rental subsidies until the supply of social and affordable housing improves, ensuring no low-income families are left out in the cold.

“It’s no secret that NSW needs more social and affordable housing supply, but there is already evidence that affordable housing is most effectively delivered by non-profit community housing providers by leveraging existing housing stock and providing rental subsidies,” said Mr Degotardi.

CHIA NSW is calling for the Federal Government to provide an extended subsidy for existing NRAS properties and for the incoming NSW Labor Government to make a long-term commitment to investing in new social and affordable housing supply. “We need urgent action to retain existing affordable housing, as well as investment in new social and affordable housing, otherwise this crisis will deteriorate even further,” Mr Degotardi said.

Media contact: Bron Matherson, 0438 844 765