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Over 100,000 South Australian households in housing stress: Report suggests rental costs could be state election issue

The South Australian Council of Social Service’s latest Cost of Living Update released today utilises recent Census data to highlight the problem of housing affordability and includes a breakdown of consumer housing stress by state electorate.

Housing stress is where a household spends more than 30% of its income on housing costs and it is a key indicator of financial hardship and risk of homelessness. 

Key findings of the SACOSS report:
107,000 South Australian households are living with housing stress – 60% of those are renters
More than 1 in 3 renters are experiencing housing stress
Rates of housing stress have increased among renters in the last 5 years, but decreased for mortgage holders
The Adelaide state electorate has the highest rate of housing stress (24.4%), while Mackillop in the state’s southeast has the lowest (9.9%)
Mackillop was the only state electorate with less than 10% of households experiencing housing stress
6 of the 10 most marginal electorates (pre-distribution) have rates of housing stress above the state average.

SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley said, “Shelter is a basic necessity for people, and housing costs are one of the largest household expenditures for most South Australian household budgets – but when housing costs get to more than 30% of those budgets, it causes real hardship."

"There is little left in the budget for other necessary expenditures, and in the worst cases housing stress can lead to defaults on payments, loss of homes, and homelessness.”

“The data in the SACOSS report shows that housing affordability should be a key election issue, and SACOSS wants to see all parties developing policies to support people experiencing housing stress, particularly for renters where housing affordability bites hardest.

“SACOSS has been calling for the introduction of a vacant property tax and for support for community housing associations to encourage more housing to come into the rental market, but our report also highlights an alarming long term decline in the provision of public housing in South Australia – from 11.2% of all private dwellings in 1991 to around 6% in social housing now.

"This represents an alarming and unacceptable decline in a major part of the housing safety net which needs to be addressed to assist the most vulnerable in the housing market.”

Published Date: 
Monday, 7 August 2017