Housing becoming a dream for Tasmanians

On Wednesday, the latest Rental Affordability Index report was released, detailing that pensioners and working parents have been priced out of rental markets.

Once the great bastion of living affordability in Australia, Tasmania is witnessing a shift in terms of the cost of housing - specifically in the rental market. 

The rental report shows that those hardest hit are living in regional areas where jobs, service and education are at a disadvantage.  According to Shelter Tas, these areas include Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. 

The report also states the average household seeking to rent in regional areas faced renting a property at about a quarter of its income.

It is worth noting that rental stress occurs when an individual or family spends more than 30 per cent of their weekly income putting a roof over their heads.

As bills continue to rise – think electricity, food, medication, petrol, childcare – wages have remained static in real terms… that is if the individual is fortunate enough to hold down full-time employing in a jobs market shifting to more part-time and casual employment. 

No one takes pleasure in sticking their hand out for help on a regular basis, but more and more charities report being under pressure to help those in need with suitable accommodation, food or assistance with paying electricity bills.

Tasmania has the lowest income in the nation, with a large portion of our population relying on income support.

Only last month, The Examiner reported that just 4 per cent of the North’s private rental properties were affordable to residents who receive income support payments as the main source of income.

A Productivity Commission review of government services found there were 10,000 less publicly-owned houses now than five years ago nationally.  Tasmania had the largest decline during that period of 57 per cent.

The state government is working to deliver new social housing properties as part of its Affordable Housing Strategy 2015-2025.  It also has programs in place to move low-income Tasmanians into their own home. 

The federal government is working to get first-home buyers in the market through its First Home Super Saver Scheme and by encouraging older Australians to downsize. Only time will tell if these measures will have any baring on the rental market.

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