Winter is coming and low income households are vulnerable as rental affordability hits record low

Media release

30 May 2023

New data released today has revealed the dire situation in the private rental market which is only expected to worsen unless an urgent and significant investment is made in social and affordable housing, warned the Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA NSW).

The research by ANZ and Corelogic showed lower-income tenants need to pay over half of their income to service a new lease, putting them in severe financial stress and housing vulnerability. Key findings include:

  • Lower income households in regional NSW are spending almost 57% of their income on rent
  • Median income households in Sydney are spending over 31% of their income on rent
  • Median income households in regional NSW are spending over 35% of their income on rent.

The peak community housing body cautioned that due to the rental crisis in NSW, more people are being forced into unsuitable living situations and homelessness.

“We’re on the cusp of winter, meaning those struggling to pay rent in the private market will need to make impossible decisions between heating, eating, and remaining housed. With vacancy rates across NSW at record lows, households are facing unprecedented challenges in securing rental housing, let alone rental housing they can afford,” said Caitlin McDowell, Head of Policy at CHIA NSW.

“For lower income households that are eligible for social housing, the waiting list for social housing is at nearly 58,000 individuals and families. The waiting list increased by 15 percent in the last year and we know it will only continue to grow due to a lack of social housing supply.

“We know that the best time to start confronting the housing crisis was yesterday but the next best time is today,” said Ms McDowell.

“We would like to see sustained and significant investment from the NSW Government in social and affordable housing to be delivered by community housing providers. Community housing providers are non-profit organisations who build communities and offer the most cost-effective way of getting vulnerable people into safe, secure and affordable homes,” said Ms McDowell.

Media Contact: Bron Matherson, 0438 844 765