Less than 1 per cent of private rental housing across Adelaide is both affordable and appropriate for most low income households on government pensions and allowances, according to a survey undertaken by AnglicareSA.

The annual Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot surveyed available private rental properties in Australia on 11 April 2011.

In South Australia single people on Newstart or Youth Allowance, or on Austudy could not afford any advertised housing, including shared accommodation.

AnglicareSA General Manager for Housing and Homelessness, Andrew Davis, said the survey was designed to highlight what a South Australian living on a low income would confront if they were looking for somewhere to live.

“Housing stress affects thousands of households in our community and there is simply not enough affordable housing stock for those who need it,” Mr Davis said.

In both metropolitan and state-wide terms, a number of household types had no affordable and appropriate houses available to them.

“It is of great concern that some single parents, and single people receiving Newstart, Youth Allowance or Austudy could not afford any of the private properties advertised for rent,” he said.

Anglicare Australia’s Methodology

For the purposes of this survey, an affordable property was one which cost less than 30 per cent of the household’s income (including their basic Centrelink payment, Rent Assistance and Family Tax Benefit if applicable).

If the household would pay more than 30 per cent of its income in rent, then it would be considered to be in ‘housing stress’, rendering the property unaffordable.

The survey assumes that a room in a share house or bedsit is only appropriate for a single person, a property with at least one bedroom is appropriate for a single person or couple, and a property with two or more bedrooms is appropriate for parents with children (as long as it allows a separate bedroom for each child).

Properties were assessed for affordability and appropriateness for a number of different household types deriving their income from government allowances and pensions.

The Survey Results

• Of the 3687 private properties for rent across South Australia 680 properties (18%) were affordable for a couple with two children. Only 320 (9%) were affordable and appropriate.

• In the metropolitan area, the couple with two children could only afford 187 properties and only 55 of those were also appropriate, representing 1% of the state-wide listing.

• For a single person with two children, only 359 properties (10%) were affordable, and from this 146 (4%) were affordable and appropriate. In the metropolitan area, these numbers were reduced to 55 being affordable and 6 (less than 1% of the state-wide listing) being both affordable and appropriate. Many of the properties in this category that were affordable were on the outer fringes of the metropolitan area.

• In the whole state there were 254 properties (7%) affordable and appropriate for a couple on an aged pension with no children. Again this was greatly reduced in the metropolitan area to 27 properties (1% of state wide listing).

• For a single person with one child, on the Single Parenting Payment, 14 properties in the metropolitan area were affordable; however, none of these were appropriate as they all had one bedroom.

• In South Australia, there were 143 properties (4%) affordable but only 96 (3%) were appropriate for that household type.

• A single person on the Age Pension or the Disability Support Pension had the choice of 48 properties (1%) in the state. Narrowing this down to the metropolitan area left just 5 properties that were both affordable and appropriate.

• Single people on Newstart or Youth allowances, or on Austudy could not afford any advertised private housing, including shared accommodation.

Click here to read the release from Anglicare Australia national findings on housing affordability