Rental pain

New report reveals that low-income earners spend most of their income on rent.

While the cost of renting in Brisbane is considered to be affordable compared to the other states in Australia, most low to moderate income earners are struggling.  

The Rental Affordability Index (RAI) is an indicator of the price of rents relative to household incomes based on new rental agreements. It is released biannually by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking, SGS Economics and Planning and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The latest RAI release revealed that Brisbane had a RAI score of 123, which means rent and income levels on average are at their most affordable since 2011.

However, it also showed that rent prices remain extremely unaffordable for single pensioners, pensioner couples, single part-time worker parents on benefits and hospitality workers.

Lower income earners living in Brisbane are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs – a trigger for rental stress.

  • Single pensioners are spending 65% of income.
  • Pensioner couples are spending 40% of income.
  • Single part-time worker parent on benefits are spending 46% of income.
  • Hospitality worker are sending 33% of income.

SGS Economics and Planning partner Ellen Witte said for young people on benefits, renting by themselves in Brisbane would be unachievable and eat up 99% of their income.

“Share housing, social housing or remaining at home with parents would be their only affordable solution,” Ms Witte said.

“Brisbane is extremely unaffordable for pensioners, with couples paying 40% of their income and singles 65% of their income to acquire a new lease for a privately rented property.” 

National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said the release sparked concerns for low-income earners.

“While we welcome the increase in overall affordability for Brisbane and the rest of Queensland, we have considerable concerns about the declining affordability for very low and low income households in our community and the very real impact that high rents have on those households forcing them into insecure living, overcrowding and homelessness.”