The most recent data about the cost of rental accommodation has revealed a substantial decline in the provision of affordable rental accommodation throughout Victoria.
This has occurred at the same time as our experiencing the most substantial shortage of rental accommodation in the last few decades. The shortage of housing put pressure on rents, with an outcome of far fewer affordable rental homes.
The data, sourced from the Victorian Government’s Office of Housing, tells the story.
In the decade between the September quarter of 2001 and 2011 there was a 55 per cent reduction in the number of affordable rental homes in Melbourne and a 19 per cent reduction in regional areas. A decade ago Melbourne had around 14,000 affordable rental homes – now it is around 8,700.
This translates to greater competition for the few affordable rental homes that are available, and tenants having to pay rents that they cannot afford or being forced to live in areas far from employment.
Not only has the number of affordable homes changed but so, too, has the location. The highest availability for affordable rental homes is in regional Victoria and what little affordable rental homes were available in Melbourne’s middle suburbs have disappeared.
For example, a decade ago 50 per cent of rental homes in the City of Knox were affordable and now only six per cent are. Over the same time there was a drop from 47 per cent to 3.5 per cent in the City of Maroondah and from 28.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent in the City of Moreland.
To address this problem the state government needs to increase direct investment in affordable and low-cost public housing, remove the opportunist taxes on investors and reducing the cost of development by improving the planning process.