Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Figures show more homeowners and renters are feeling the pain

New figures out today provide further evidence of a sharp rise in the number of Australians in housing stress.

The AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report finds that in the 10 years since 1995-96:

  • the proportion of people paying more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on housing increased from 19 to 23 per cent; and
  • the proportion of over 60s households in housing stress increased from 5.3 to 9.5 per cent.

The report also shows that one third of households headed by young people and low income earners are in housing stress.

Australians on low incomes used to have an expectation that diligent saving would ultimately be rewarded with a home of their own but this is often no longer the case.

Many working families are stuck in the private rental market without a way to move into home purchase.

For low income earners it is even worse: the median house price is now about 27 times the annual income of the poorest renters, up from 16 times the annual income of the poorest renters in 1996.

While tackling housing affordability is complex and will take time the Government is working hard to roll out our comprehensive affordable housing agenda.

Australia’s housing affordability problems are fundamentally driven by a lack of housing supply.

That’s why the Prime Minister recently announced a doubling of the Government’s pre-election commitment to provide up to100,000 new affordable rental properties through the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

This scheme will deliver housing at 20 per cent below the market rate for eligible tenants.

The initiative means, for example, that rent on a new average three bedroom unit in the program would be $280 a week rather than $350 a week – that is $70 less.

Other policies include:

  • First Home Saver Accounts, which will help young Australians save for their first home through special low tax superannuation-style savings accounts;
  • Housing Affordability Fund, which will increase housing supply by providing giving state and local government incentives to lower development charges;
  • Land Release which will see surplus Commonwealth land being freed for housing development or community infrastructure.