The 'housing market' that cannot provide housing

Issue 
Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra.

Less than 1% of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a new report launched on April 21 by Anglicare Sydney.

Anglicare Sydney's Rental Affordability Snapshot reviewed properties that were advertised for rent in greater Sydney and the Illawarra region over the weekend of April 2-3. Of 14,774 properties, only 76 were affordable and appropriate for households on pensions and other welfare payments without putting them into rental stress.

The research found that only 14 properties were affordable for singles on the age pension; only 12 properties affordable for couples with two children on Newstart Allowance; only three properties were affordable for single parents with two children on the Parenting Payment; and only two properties were affordable for single parents with one child on the Parenting Payment.

Anglicare Sydney CEO Grant Millard said: “Rental affordability in greater Sydney for low income households has been consistently low for the past four years, hovering at less than 1%. This year our Snapshot reveals that it has decreased in the Illawarra region also.”

Low-income earners in Sydney are being priced out of the rental market. They cannot afford to rent in the outer suburbs and they cannot afford rents even if they move to Wollongong and its surrounds.

And you should see the state of the lower-price rental housing on the market. They are total dumps!

The “housing market” is completely failing to provide affordable housing to a large section of the population. On the other hand it is making a lot of money for developers, real estate agents and banks. It is emblematic of a broader failure of the capitalist system to serve social needs.

Meanwhile, there were nearly 60,000 on the waiting list for public housing last year, according to Shelter NSW. Yet the Mike Baird Liberal government has promised to build only 9000 new public housing dwellings over the next 25 years while continuing to sell off existing public housing stock.

Green Left Weekly has been running articles advocating a major social investment in public housing to liberate housing from “the market” and turn it into a social right. We could have quality, ecologically sustainable and affordable housing instead of a “housing market” that serves mainly to make the rich richer.

If you agree with our ideas, then you should help us get them out to more people. You can do this by making a donation to our fighting fund here.

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