Australia News

Jamie was told to move out of her rental ‘for her own safety’. Five months on, she feels trapped there

News Today || Headlines Today

Jamie* rents a house in Sydney’s south-west. It has water damage, mould growth, and what she fears is a sinkhole risk in the backyard.
She also feels trapped there.

Her experience comes against the backdrop of Australia’s runaway rental market. Rental prices are rising, properties are flying off the market — at record levels in some capitals — both of which have been attributed to a lack of stock on the market.

Water damage and mould growth on the ceiling of the second bedroom in Jamie’s home. Source: Supplied

Jamie shares her home with her parents. Her mother is in her late 60s and her father is in his early 70s.

There’s a swimming pool in the backyard which Jamie said leaks; she has noticed cracks and gaps in the concrete and fears it could form a sinkhole.
She said she raised it as an issue with her property manager at an inspection earlier this year, along with water damage and mould growth issues inside the house.
“They said… ‘move out, for your own safety’,” she said.

“Unfortunately, it’s five months later and we’re still actively looking for a property that’s suitable.”

Australia’s runaway rental market

In some capital cities, the number of days on market for rental properties is at historic lows, according to recent figures from data firm PropTrack.
PropTrack said in July, the median number of days a rental was listed on online property portal was 15 in Brisbane and 21 in Sydney — the lowest-ever figures recorded.
Nationwide, the median time on market was 19 days, which it said was also a historic low.

That comes as national rental prices climbed 8 per cent year-on-year in July (from $430 to $465), and total rental listings were almost a third lower than pre-pandemic times (when comparing March, 2020, to July, 2022), according to PropTrack.

For Jamie, these figures hit home. Many rentals she has found that do meet her and her parents’ needs have been $40 to $60 more than the $380 they’re paying each week.

“That’s going to put a strain on our household, because while me and my mum work, my dad is a retired pensioner so… we’ve got to try and budget our money more carefully,” she said.
“We’re looking around the same area because we work close by… but we’ve had to start looking as far out as Campbelltown, and that adds another half-hour to our commute.”

She also said that many of the properties she’s inspected are not “like the pictures they have in the listing.”

Little relief in sight

Eleanor Creagh, a senior economist at PropTrack, said “finding a rental property at the moment is incredibly tough.”
“One of the big factors is there is not much choice,” Ms Creagh said.
She said another factor driving the market upwards is increased demand for rental properties, particularly in the apartment market.

“The numbers of potential renters per listing [on] is a lot higher, particularly in… capital cities,” she said. “So that’s also playing into the very competitive market.”

She said rental stock was low after many investors sold their investment properties during the height of the pandemic.
“New lending to investors is up on COVID lows, but it’s nowhere near that level that it was a few years ago,” she said.

She said market conditions were unlikely “to ease anytime soon unless something significant changes”.

RELATED:  Iran summons UK and Norwegian envoys over hostile media

A call to freeze rental prices

On Thursday, the Australian Greens’ housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather to allow incomes to catch up with surging prices, as well as an ongoing policy to cap rent increases at two per cent every 24 months.
The government dismissed this, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese saying he was unsure how a national rental freeze would work in practice.
“It’s not clear to me, short of nationalising property, how that could be achieved,” he said.
Some economists have said rent control policies like the one proposed by the Greens can have the unintended consequence of restricting the supply of new housing.
But Joel Dignam, the founder of advocacy group Better Renting, questioned how well rising rental prices had worked as a signal to increase supply.

“There’s a lot of opportunities to make more money renting out properties, but that doesn’t really seem to be shifting the supply situation in a meaningful way,” he said.

Man's face close up.

On Thursday, the Australian Greens’ housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather called for a two-year, nationwide freeze on rents to allow incomes to catch up with surging prices Source: AAP / Mick Tsikas

Mr Dignam said conversations on a freeze were a positive thing because they raised questions over whether the market should dictate rental prices.

“I think another thing to note is that restricting rent increases isn’t just about affordability,” he said.
“That’s certainly part of it, but it’s also about stability and helping people stay in their homes.”
The government has recognised skyrocketing rents play a significant part in Australia’s inflation problem.
It has pledged to build 30,000 social and affordable housing properties across Australia in five years as part of its $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund.
On Thursday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government would focus on boosting supply to combat the housing crisis.
“That’s why we have the Housing Australia Future Fund that’s building more affordable homes, and I’m working with the super industry and the states to see if we can build more stock.”

*Name changed for privacy reasons.

RELATED:  Daria Saville retires early with injury against Naomi Osaka

Latest & Breaking Australia News Today Headlines: More Updates

Today News || News Now || World News || US News || UK Today || Tech News || Education News


Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button