A survey of almost 75,000 rental properties found just three (3!!!) homes across all of Australia that are affordable for singles on JobSeeker. The news comes as housing prices surge to record highs in most capital cities. No matter how you look at it, shit is well and truly fucked in the housing market.
The only three places identified by Anglicare as being affordable for people on JobSeeker were sharehouses in Brisbane, Perth and the NSW Riverina region. For those on the Youth Allowance, that figure dropped to zero.
“Each year, we think the market couldn’t get any worse. And each year, we’re shocked to see that it can,” Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said in a statement.
“That’s why we need to lift JobSeeker and other payments above the poverty line. If we don’t, people out of work will be pushed deeper into housing stress and even homelessness.”
The snapshot comes from an analysis of listings on Realestate.com.au taken on March 26, 2021. The report also takes into account that people have bills to pay, and need to buy essentials like groceries.
While the government has technically raised the rate of JobSeeker by $50 a fortnight in April, it has also scrapped the coronavirus supplement, meaning most of these payments actually decreased by $100 a fortnight.
“The ‘new’ rate of JobSeeker is so low that it hasn’t made a dent in affordability. There are even fewer affordable rentals now than there were on the old rate of Newstart,” Chambers added.
In terms of house prices outright, a new report from Domain has found that houses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart have surged to record highs. Oh joy.
“A perfect storm has been created to fuel housing demand – a combination of record low interest rates, reduced discretionary spending, as well as state and federal housing incentives,” Domain Senior Research Analyst Dr Nicola Powell said.
“For Melbourne, conditions are exaggerated given residents have lived through multiple lockdowns.”
Domain clocked the median house price in Sydney as being $1,309,195, while Melbourne wasn’t far behind at $974,397. The recent nationwide surge in prices was the steepest quarterly increase in almost 18 years.
If young people, people on JobSeeker or the Youth Allowance, or pretty much anyone who isn’t rich want to find somewhere comfortable to live, the government needs to fix things urgently.
“We also need to invest in affordable housing. Our shortfall is massive. We need 500,000 new social and affordable rentals across Australia,” Chambers said.
Let’s the folks in charge finally get the memo.