TUE 03 AUG 2
The number of people who are homeless continues to rise in Australia as the tight rental market and rising prices push up the cost of living.
Rent is appreciating at the fastest rate since 2008, up 7.7 per cent annually, while dwelling prices went up 16.6 per cent, according to Corelogic.
The market results were released during Homelessness week earlier this month. The number of people without a stable home is tipped to increase in the next Census, which is due to be recorded on August 10.
Homelessness increased 14 per cent between 2011 and 2016, and in 10 years, SQM Research showed, house prices have increased 50 per cent and rents 31 per cent.
Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith said this week marked a milestone in the country’s housing crisis.
“Everybody needs a home, but rising house prices and rents over the past decade have pushed more Australians out of housing and into homelessness,” Smith said.
Smith said in the past decade federal funding had been cut by $1 billion while investment in social housing and homelessness was drastically declining.
“Building more social housing would also provide safe housing options for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence, many of whom now get trapped in homelessness because they can’t compete in the private rental market,” Smith said.
The rising prices were also starting to impact affordability for all buyers, with prices outpacing rental yield for investors, capital gains slowing in the upper quartile and first home buyers unable to enter the market.
Housing affordability also has an impact on city productivity and labour supply, according to a report by Ahuri.
University of South Australia professor Chris Leishman said there was growing statistical evidence that rising “quit rates” due to unaffordable housing and long commute times were already affecting cities.
“To make large cities work it will be essential to re-conceive housing policies as being, in part, concerned with real economic infrastructure to facilitate economic development,” Leishman said.
“A second step is to move away from a narrow focus on the poorest households and the homeless and to set their concerns within a broader housing-systems framework that has regard to all housing outcomes in the metropolitan area and in the nation.”
Despite the calls for more funding and developers incorporating affordable housing into new projects, a change in the number of people experiencing homelessness is yet to be seen.