No improvement in home affordability: report

No improvement in home affordability: report

Single mother, Patricia Finkel of Monash spends almost half of what she earns on housing costs.Almost half of what Patricia Finkel earns is consumed by housing costs.

Despite having a good education and a steady job in the public service, the single mother spends 47 per cent of her wage on keeping her Monash home.

Ms Finkel had moved to Canberra for her husband, but found herself a single mother with little savings after her marriage ended.

”It’s a tough situation and I’m at the positive end of the scale,” she said.

”If I’m finding it tough when I’m educated with a good job, imagine how others are doing … It’s a scary situation.”

The issue of affordable housing has been highlighted in a report issued by the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council, which stated there was no indication that housing affordability had improved in recent years.

Ms Finkel said the precarious housing situation was of particular concern in Canberra, where some of her friends in the expensive rental market were living from pay cheque to pay cheque. ”Rents in Canberra are high and buying a home is a dream at this point,” she said.

”I mean, we’ve all watched The Castle. That’s the dream, to have your own home. But I don’t know how it’s ever going to happen in Canberra.”

The COAG report stated that nationally rental affordability worsened significantly for the lowest 10 per cent of households by income, with the rate of rental stress jumping from 49.2 per cent in 2007-08 to 60.8 per cent the following year.

Sarah Toohey, from Australians for Affordable Housing, is calling for action from both Commonwealth and ACT government.

”While the report shows that the ACT is more affordable than the national average for low to middle income home buyers, just 19 per cent of properties are affordable to 40 per cent of Canberra’s households,” Ms Toohey said.

”For three years in a row the COAG Reform Council has reported that housing affordability in Australia is getting worse, particularly in the rental market.”

The Housing Industry Association is also calling for urgent action from government bodies to address the housing shortage across the country, reported as 186,800 dwellings.

HIA chief executive officer Graham Wolfe said the report highlighted the shortfall created after the estimated underlying demand for housing outpaced the supply of new homes by 13.5 per cent from 2001 to 2010.

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