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Government Federal, Government QLD

More pain for low income renters as Regional Qld becomes most unaffordable place in Australia

National Shelter / SGS Economics and Planning 2 mins read

Regional Queensland is now the most unaffordable place in Australia to rent a home, with low-income households 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 affordability in Queensland excluding Greater Brisbane has dropped seven per cent in the past year.

For the first time ever, the median regional Qld rental at $553 a week now costs 30 per cent of the average annual rental household income of $96,033, up from $493 and 29 per cent last year.

This is a record high that meets the threshold for rental stress and exceeds all other regions and capital cities.

This drop has the biggest impact on low-income households. A single person on JobSeeker would now have to spend 98 per cent of their entire income to rent a median one-bedroom home, up from 94 per cent last year.

A single pensioner would have to spend 59 per cent of their income to rent a median one-bedroom home, up from 56 per cent last year.

National Shelter CEO Emma Greenhalgh said: "It's deeply troubling to see that average regional Queensland renters have to put themselves in rental stress just to keep a roof over their head.

“The situation is even worse for low-income households, many of whom simply cannot afford to rent safely in the private market. 

"From the Gold Coast to Townsville, the shocking plunge in affordability is stark and widespread right across the state. 

“Regional Queensland is now categorised as unaffordable, a significant shift from just three years ago when it was categorised as acceptable.” 

The least affordable suburb in regional Queensland is Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast where a median rental of $1,050 week costs 58 per cent of the average regional Queensland rental household income. 

Nearby areas Wurtulla beach, Coolum Beach, Tewantin, Cooroy, and Noosa Heads have all been classified as severely unaffordable, down from moderately unaffordable or acceptable back in 2020.

Much of the Gold Coast including Surfers’ Paradise, Broadbeach and Burleigh Heads has become even less affordable and remains categorised as severely unaffordable.

Regional hubs such as Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, and Townsville, which were praised for their affordable to very affordable rent listings in 2020, have slid to acceptable status and the surrounding regions are generally moderately unaffordable to unaffordable. 

“This is concerning because it indicates that residents priced out of the Greater Brisbane rental market would still struggle to find affordable rental housing in other cities throughout Queensland,” said SGS Economics and Planning Principal, Ellen Witte.

"Unaffordability is hurting the economy too. Households will have to live further away from where the jobs are to access affordable rents, and businesses are struggling to find workers.

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

Contact details:

Charlie Moore: 0452 606 171


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