With almost half of renters already in rental stress, more needs to be done to address housing affordability: RMIT experts available for comment

With almost half of renters already in rental stress, more needs to be done to address housing affordability: RMIT experts available for comment

RMIT University experts are available to talk to media about the impact interest rate rises will have on renters and propose purpose-built rental accommodation and alternative and innovative modes of housing production must be seriously considered by government.

Dr. Megan Nethercote, Senior Research Fellow, RMIT 

Topics: housing, interest rate rises, rentals, home ownership, homelessness, cost of living.  

“With the latest interest rate rise and subsequent belt-tightening, renters risk seeing their landlords pass on the costs of rising mortgage repayments. Some renters will lose their homes as landlords sell up.” 

“The plight of renters looks set to worsen as the knock-on effects of rising interest rates filter through to renters and combine with cost-of-living pressures. With almost half of renters on rental assistance already in rental stress, the risk of some renters falling into homelessness is real and high.” 

“Renters represent a growing cohort. Once a route to homeownership, private rental is now a tenure destination. Renters deserve homes that are affordable, provide adequate security of tenure, are well-maintained and have appropriate provisions for tenant representation. Meeting these needs requires strong national leadership on housing; they warrant serious deliberation within a new national housing agenda.” 

“Australia is witnessing a rise in build to rent investment, with Melbourne the epicentre of a boom in construction of large purpose-built rental accommodation earmarked for long-term operation by corporate landlords under unified ownership. Build to rent may provide some answers for renters by increasing the supply of market rate and affordable rentals and providing renters with improved security of tenure.”

Dr. Megan Nethercote is an ARC DECRA Fellow. Her ARC-funded Rent City DECRA project, underway at RMIT's Centre for Urban Research, is currently examining just how well these new models of rental provision might serve renters' housing needs. 

Dr. Louise Dorignon, Research Fellow, RMIT

Topics: housing security, rentals, cost of living, interest rate rises.  

“Households in the private rental sector will likely be impacted by rent increases if interest rates continue to surge. For households that are already concerned by significant expenses relative to their budget, this is likely to place them at risk of housing affordability stress.”

“Low-income private renters have some of the least protected housing security and may experience heightened anxiety about these potential rent increases and threat of eviction.”

“It is also often the same households who lack the funds to thermally improve their homes to reduce their electricity and gas bills.”

“Better designing and building homes so they are affordable, durable, and energy-efficient could help alleviating the risk of rental affordability stress in the future.”

“The apartment stock does not provide sufficient quality to meet the needs of current and future households. We need to transition to alternative and innovative modes of housing production, such as using less carbon-intensive materials, which would create more liveable apartment homes and in the long term, more affordable ones for households.”

Dr. Louise Dorignon is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Urban Research, School of Global Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. Her research investigates high-rise housing, apartment liveability/affordability and the politics of verticality in westernised cities. She is currently researching low-carbon construction models in Australia and Europe for the provision of more affordable, durable and liveable apartments.

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For interviews, please contact RMIT Communications: 0439 704 077 or news@rmit.edu.au

03 August 2022

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