The proportion of social housing households in Australia has fallen, even as house and rent prices continue to grow at record pace, new data has revealed.
The percentage of social housing homes has fallen from 4.6 per cent in 2014 to 4.2 per cent in 2020, and it’s posing an increasingly concerning problem for people living in housing stress and those at risk of, or currently experiencing, homelessness.
“Social housing has historically played an important role providing a safe, secure place to call home to those locked out of the private housing market,” policy manager at homelessness advocacy group Everybody’s Home Kate Colvin said on Wednesday.
“As more and more people on low to middle incomes are being left behind by rising rents and house prices, the need for social housing in Australia has never been greater. We need the proportion of social housing to grow, not decline.”
The median home value in Australia is now $634,355 - a year-to-date increase of 10.6 per cent.
That increases to $970,355 for homes in Sydney and $1.19 million for standalone houses in Sydney, after the city recorded a year-to-date growth of 12.5 per cent to June.
And in the first three months of 2021, Sydney recorded a staggering 9.3 per cent growth in value. Darwin marked a 7.9 per cent increase, while Hobart jumped 7.7 per cent and Canberra increased 6.2 per cent.
“Homes that ordinary families can afford are critical infrastructure for every community. With a home everybody has the ability to live, work and raise their families,” Colvin said.
“But surging prices and low vacancy rates mean a place to call home is increasingly out of reach for many Australians."
Colvin noted that prices for renters are also increasing, with national rents increasing by 15.1 per cent for houses and 8.1 per cent for units over the last year.
“We cannot have a situation where house prices rise at close to 10 per cent a quarter in some cases, while social housing declines. That is a recipe for more housing stress, more homelessness and deepening inequality,” Colvin said.
Homelessness is expected to increase by 9 per cent over 2021, according to a study by Equity Economics released in 2020.
The study - commissioned by Everybody’s Home - also found another 24 per cent are expected to experience housing stress this year.
“On the current trajectory, housing stress is only going to worsen for people on low and middle incomes, which is why we need the Federal Government to make an urgent investment in social housing now," Colvin said.