Victoria’s worst electorates for rental stress revealed

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Almost a third of Victorian households are in rental stress, a new study shows.

Victoria’s worst federal electorates for rental stress are in outer Melbourne and regional areas, a new study shows.

The Flinders and Calwell electorates had the state’s highest proportion of households in rental stress, at 37 per cent each, according to research from University of NSW for the Everybody’s Home campaign.

The former is held by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and covers most of the Mornington Peninsula plus Western Port, including French and Phillip Islands.

And the latter is held by Labor’s Maria Vamvakinou’s and includes outer northwestern suburbs Tullamarine, Gladstone Park, Broadmeadows, Meadow Heights and Roxburgh Park.

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Greg Hunt’s Flinders electorate has Victoria’s highest proportion of rental stress, according to the research. Picture: David Geraghty, The Australian.

The Corio electorate in Geelong, held by Labor’s Richard Marles, came next at 36 per cent, followed by Dunkley in the outer southeast (held by the Coalition’s Chris Crewther) and Bendigo (Labor’s Lisa Chesters), both at 35 per cent.

Rounding out UNSW’s top 10 were Casey in Melbourne’s outer east (held by Coalition, 34 per cent), Scullin in the outer north (Labor, 34 per cent), Ballarat (Labor, 34 per cent), new electorate Monash east of Melbourne (Coalition, 33 per cent) and Holt in the outer southeast (Labor, 33 per cent).

Everybody’s Home campaign spokeswoman Kate Colvin said the list busted the myth that housing affordability was only a problem in inner Melbourne and Sydney.

Everybody’s Home campaign spokeswoman Kate Colvin said housing affordability issues stretched beyond inner Melbourne to the city’s edges.

Ms Colvin said an alarming 30 per cent of all Victorian households were in rental stress — defined as households with incomes in the bottom 40 per cent of earners, which are sinking more than 30 per cent of that income into housing costs.

“The narrow focus on real estate prices for young homebuyers means 185,574 Victorian

households in rental stress are being forgotten by governments at all levels,” Ms Colvin said.

“Under-investment in social housing, increasing rents and low wage growth mean low-income earners and middle-income earners are struggling.”

A recent realestate.com.au survey also found high levels of rental stress on Melbourne’s fringe, with 60-70 per cent of respondents from Romsey, Sunbury, Healesville, Belgrave, Mornington and Rosebud reporting rent ate up more than 30 per cent of their household income.

No Victorian suburbs made UNSW’s national top 20 list, which largely contained Labor-held western Sydney and Coalition-dominated regional New South Wales and Queensland areas.

The worst was Fowler in Sydney’s west, at 44 per cent.

The Everybody’s Home campaign has united non-profit housing, homelessness and community sectors with major charities to call for leaders to “fix Australia’s housing system”.

This includes pushing for the development of a strategy to provide the 500,000 social and affordable homes needed nationwide, for the tax system to be reset to prioritise homebuyers over investors, for a “better deal for renters”, and for an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

A national plan to end homelessness by 2030 is also being sought.

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