One in five Australians experienced housing affordability stress and for half of them, the negative impact was recurrent or enduring during the decade from 2001-2011, new research from RMIT reveals.
Families with dependent children are especially vulnerable, being either unable to escape housing affordability stress or rebounding back in to it.
Researchers Gavin Wood and Melek Cigdem from RMIT University’s Centre for Urban Research (CUR) and Rachel Ong from Curtin University tracked 5047 people over 10 years to find families with infants aged 0-4 years were at greatest risk (42 per cent) of experiencing two or more episodes of housing affordability stress.
But Wood, a professor of housing and urban research, said other households were also over-represented among those with repeat episodes of housing affordability stress.
“This includes 55 per cent who are buying their own homes, private renters (33 per cent, inner city dwellers (61 per cent), people with low education levels (53 per cent), migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds, the self-employed (20 per cent), and those not in the labour force (31 per cent).’’
He said the Global Financial Crisis also impacted on Australian families, with more falling into housing stress and also finding it more difficult to escape since the GFC.
“People are in housing affordability stress if they are among the poorest 40 per cent of Australians by income and pay more than 30 per cent of their income in housing costs,’’ Wood said.
Dr Ian Winter, Executive Director of the Australian Housing Urban Research Institute, which funded the project, said the findings were important for policy makers.
“The findings are consistent with early intervention, prevention or investment approaches that are being adopted across social policy,’’ Winter said.
“This new research confirms that Australians would benefit from diversifying the range of housing assistance measures so that new options can be tailored to a household’s need, and especially the duration of that need.”
The research features in this month’s AHURI Research and Policy Bulletin.
For interviews: Dr Gavin Wood, 0434 112 712.
For general media enquiries: Brenton Shaughnessy, 0450 687 810.