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Government Federal, Government QLD

Low income renters smashed as Brisbane affordability hits lowest ever level

National Shelter / SGS Economics and Planning 2 mins read


Rental affordability in Greater Brisbane has plunged to its lowest ever level with people on low incomes bearing the brunt of the crisis, according to the annual National Shelter-SGS Economics and Planning Rental Affordability Index.


The index - which cross references median rents with average incomes - shows that Greater Brisbane’s affordability has dropped nine per cent in the past year.


The median rental costing $553 a week now consumes 28 per cent of the average rental household income of $103,935, up from $483 and 27 per cent last year.


Only Sydney and Hobart are more unaffordable than Brisbane among the capital cities. 


This drop has the biggest impact on low-income households. A single person on JobSeeker would now have to spend more than their entire income to rent a median one-bedroom home (106 per cent), up from 89 per cent last year.


A single pensioner would have to spend 64 per cent of their income to rent a median one-bedroom home, up from 53 per cent last year.


Meanwhile, regional Queensland is now the most unaffordable place in Australia to rent a home, with the median rental, also at $553 a week, now costing 30 per cent of the average annual regional household income of $96,033.


The report finds that just three years ago most inner-Brisbane suburbs along the riverfront offered acceptable or affordable rents - but now there are no affordable suburbs left in Greater Brisbane.


National Shelter CEO Emma Greenhalgh said: “Affordability was already dire in Brisbane but now things are going from bad to even worse. People on low incomes are under particularly severe pressure as rents surge beyond capacity to pay.  


“Almost nowhere is safe from declining affordability, with most suburbs falling either one to two affordability categories.


“Governments must urgently address this worsening affordability crisis, including by building more social and affordable homes and better regulating renting.”


Many postcodes in inner to middle Brisbane remain moderately unaffordable to unaffordable to households on average incomes. Areas to the north west, around Samford Valley, continue to be among the most unaffordable in Queensland, being categorised as severely unaffordable.  


Affordability in eastern suburbs from Yeerongpilly to Birkdale have significantly declined. Affordability in southern suburbs also declined, such as in Logan (which remains very affordable) and Underwood (which became moderately unaffordable).  


The traditionally more affordable outskirts of Greater Brisbane (Woodford, Rosewood, Sandstone Point and Caboolture) all declined in affordability by at least 20 per cent over the past three years. 


SGS Economics and Planning Principal, Ellen Witte, said strong reform was needed. “This downward spiral has now reached the point where very few affordable long-term rentals are on offer.


“We need to attack this problem from multiple angles. This means expanding social and affordable housing, rethinking how we use tax subsidies and strengthening renters’ rights.”

Contact details:

Charlie Moore: 0452 606 171


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