Rental affordability for low-income households in regional areas has plunged to become "extremely to severely unaffordable", a report released today reveals.
The latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) has highlighted declining affordability in regional areas across the board, including NSW and Victoria, as people fled major cities and "re-located to the regions in a short space of time" due to COVID-19.
Victoria remains severely unaffordable to significant proportions of the renting population, according to the RAI report released annually by National Shelter, SGS Economics & Planning, the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and Beyond Bank Australia.
For the first time since 2012, average affordability in regional areas has fallen from affordable to acceptable, and the average rental household seeking to rent in regional Victoria faces paying 26 per cent of its total income if renting at the median rental rate.
National Shelter executive officer Adrian Pisarski said calls could be made for rent control to combat unaffordable rents for low-income households.
"Low-income households have fared the worst over the past year with prices still on the rise in most parts of Victoria," Mr Pisarski said.
"At the very least Commonwealth Rent Assistance needs to rise by 50 per cent to allow households to retain a level of affordability.
"Australia needs a National Housing Plan, more social and affordable housing, better tenancy laws, reforms of tax settings, new planning measures and the removal of incentives distorting our housing system," he said.
Today Albury MP Justin Clancy also announced work had finished on two new, three-bedroom social homes at North Albury as part of the NSW Government's strategy to fast-track the delivery of social housing by partnering with local builders.
His announcement came hot on the heels of Monday night's meeting of Albury Council, where councillors endorsed a plan to tackle the lack of affordable housing in the city by investigating a deal with a community provider to assist the needy with accommodation.
Mr Clancy said the Kestrel Street properties fitted seamlessly into the existing streetscape, using similar designs for social homes as those used by private builders.
"Up to six locals will soon receive keys to their modern and fit-for-purpose properties, giving them the chance to enjoy Christmas in their new homes," he said.
"This fast-track delivery program ... provides homes sooner (and) is also providing much-needed jobs, putting money in the pockets of builders, trades people and other workers who spend in the Albury region."
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