City Futures Research Centre Arts, Design and Architecture

Housing Affordability for Lower Income Australians (NRV3)

One of the biggest problems lower income Australian households face today is finding affordable, secure and appropriate housing. Whilst this has been an issue for some time, concerns that the problem has been increasing and is affecting moderate as well as low income households has made this a priority issue.

Currently some 250,000 low-income private renter households are paying more than 30% of their income in meeting their housing costs. In 2002 more than a third of private renter households receiving Commonwealth Rent Assistance were paying more than 30% of their income in meeting their housing costs with as many as 9% paying more than 50%. Because of the high and rising house prices, potential first home buyers are being excluded from home ownership and estimates predict 1 million households could be in housing stress by 2020 if no remedial action is taken.

The causes of housing affordability stress are multiple, interacting and complex. Our understanding of them includes changing housing away from home ownership toward renting, leading to more demand pressure on the private rental market, a reduced supply of low rent dwellings in the private and public sectors. House prices are rising due to low interest rates, as well as being a lack of innovation in the building industry and lack of acceptance of low-cost housing in the community. There is also a change in the labour market and uneven changes in real incomes between income groups and across Australia and changing housing market behaviour due to casualisation.

This CRV will focus specifically on outcomes and solutions for households in need of assistance because of affordability problems. The focus of the CRV will be on income-constrained households in broad categories that identify those potentially at risk of affordability problems either now or in the future

The key research question is: 『how do we enhance housing affordability for lower income households in Australia?』


Housing affordability: a 21st century problem


Experiencing the housing affordability problem: blocked aspirations, trade-offs and financial hardships



Dr Judith Yates (Uni of Sydney)

Collaborating partners

University of Sydney

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