2024 Rental Affordability Snapshot

May 9, 2024

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Rental report highlights critical issue for upcoming state & federal elections 

Across the entire state, there is not a single property – even a room – affordable to someone on Jobseeker or Youth Allowance, according to the 2024 Anglicare WA Rental Affordability Snapshot released today, further highlighting housing availability as one of the critical issues that will define upcoming state and federal elections. 

The Snapshot, which is taken each year in March, captured the number of affordable and suitable rentals available for Western Australians on low incomes. A property was considered affordable if it required less than 30% of a household’s income, and considered appropriate if it had an adequate number of bedrooms. 

There were 2,989 available private rentals listed across WA when the Snapshot was taken. While this was an increase of 77 properties since the same time last year (2,912), availability has not recovered since Covid; there are 59% fewer properties than were available at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 (7,256). 

Several years of declining availability, combined with persistently high interest rates, has led to another escalation in median rents since the 2023 Snapshot: 16% across WA/in Perth Metro ($650pw from $560pw), 19% in the South-West and Great Southern ($620pw from $520pw), and 13% in the North-West ($850pw from $750pw). 

Anglicare WA General Manager of Advocacy & Strategy Dr Shae Garwood said WA’s prosperity was at odds with the grim reality of WA’s rental market. 

“We’re the richest state in one of the richest countries in the world.” Dr Garwood said. “It’s time to ensure people have access to safe, secure, and healthy homes that are affordable to rent for people on low incomes”. 

Dr Garwood said the State and Federal elections would see the emergence of a new voting block of Millennial and Gen Z voters, beginning to shape and inform housing policy, and demanding better renting conditions, and access to affordable housing. 

“More people are forced into long term, even lifelong, renting. State and Federal Governments are well-minded to acknowledge the broad voting base and have placed housing as a policy priority. This emerging cohort is both getting organised to influence decision makers and being targeted for political action. 

“The State Government has made some recent positive moves, including the WA Rent Relief Program, Residential Tenancy Act Reforms, and increased investments in social housing construction and spot purchasing”, said Dr Garwood. 

“These are welcome changes but more needs to be done both at scale and at pace to ensure Western Australians can access a safe, secure, and healthy home.” 

Key recommendations: 

  • Increase the rate of JobSeeker and other payments above the poverty line alongside increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance 
  • Reinstate the Nation Rental Affordability Scheme (or a state -based equivalent) where landlords are guaranteed rent for the long term when offering below market rent. 
  • State and Federal Governments increase their recent investment to build and buy more social housing. The proposal to use our windfall state budget surplus to create a Housing Future Fund would support this. 
  • Reform tax and other incentives for landlords and build-to-rent developers to increase supply. 

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