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Victorian rentals increase as ‘crisis’ deepens

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Victorian rental prices have jumped significantly in the past year, prompting calls for political parties to commit to building 6000 social housing properties a year.

Median rental prices in Melbourne have increased by 7.7 per cent to $430 a week, while those in regional Victoria have jumped 8.9 per cent to $395 a week, according to government data.

Among the most expensive places to rent in metropolitan Melbourne are Fitzroy and Port Melbourne at $575 a week for a two-bedroom flat.

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In the regions, Torquay has the most expensive median rent at $450 a week for a two-bedroom flat, while Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads are close behind at $415.

The median rent in Geelong for a two-bedroom flat is $395 a week.

Vacancy rates are down to 3.6 per cent in Melbourne and 2.1 per cent in regional Victoria.

Rental costs have increased past pre-COVID prices and the strain is squeezing more Victorians out of the rental market, according to the Council to Homeless Persons.

In mid-2017, fewer than 7000 people visited Victorian homelessness services every month, but that has risen to nearly 10,000.

The Council to Homeless Persons has called on all political parties to commit to building 6000 social properties each year for 10 years, and bolstering the number of homelessness prevention workers.

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“Renters are on the front line of Victoria’s cost-of-living crisis,” chief executive Jenny Smith said.

“More renters are being pushed into homelessness because they can’t find a rental they can afford.

“Homelessness services are overwhelmed with people desperate for a home, and too many Victorians in urgent need of homelessness support are missing out.”

As part of its state election platform, the council is also asking that political parties commit to providing a housing guarantee to victim-survivors of family violence, and better supporting young people through youth-specific housing and more case management.

The council also wants political parties to deliver more Aboriginal community-controlled housing, and implement the blueprint for an Aboriginal-specific homelessness system ahead of November’s state election.

The areas with the highest increases in two-bedroom flat rents to this year’s June quarter included the Melbourne CBD, Southbank, Docklands and Dromana, and Portsea.

For two-bedroom flats in the state’s regional areas, locations with the highest rental increases included Benalla, Wangaratta and Wodonga.

The Victorian government has committed to building 9300 new social housing homes over the next four years, while the state Liberal opposition is yet to announce a social housing policy.

– AAP

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