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The Growth of Rental Poverty Among Older Australians

The latest research says that in the OECD, older Australians are the poorest garnering 42 percent while Americans came in second place with 41 percent.

Australians aged over 65 years old are suffering from the negative effects of the housing boom and unbalanced retirement system – which is rental poverty and they are considered the poorest. The results from this study revealed that the situation is getting worse, and individuals aged 65 and up are actually having difficulty paying rent. Why? Let’s find out.

The recent study conducted by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Research at UNSW revealed that in 2019, about 37 percent of renters aged 64 to 74 have been paying more a third of their overall income for rent, while actually earning a low income. This was a huge jump from 21 percent over two decades ago. For the younger ones paying rent above 24 years old, the percentage of income in rent has not changed but for the older renters, the increase is quite tremendous.

There are a couple of reasons why according to experts.

Rent versus Income

One of the reasons blamed for this is that fact while rent is growing, incomes are not at all improving. The pension that is given to older Australians both owners and renters are the same, which makes the situation, not at all fair. Australia being the poorest in the OECD wasn’t as surprising to some experts because the housing costs are among the highest in the world.

Housing Affordability

Working longer wouldn’t be enough either because housing affordability has become such a problem in Australia that homeownership has decreased in the last 20 years in all age groups, which of course, including older Australians. The growing rental cost can also be attributed to the increase both in population and migration, which makes the demand for housing even stronger.

Changing Times

The only constant thing in this world is change, and sometimes, these changes come with situations that don’t necessarily bode well for us. Change will happen – whether we like or not. For instance, changes in so many factors including house prices and affordability affect one’s wellbeing. Social changes like education and rising marriages have also affected life events.

In terms of employment, gone are the days when individuals get to enjoy stable employment that could coverage mortgage for a long time. These days, short contracts are more prevalent which makes it more difficult for them to purchase a house so the more logical move is to rent.

Not only is the number of rental property among older Australians growing but, sadly, according to a new study conducted by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), older Australians are experiencing financial and housing insecurity and the demand for homeless services – meaning, homelessness is on the rise as well.

“The results show the proportion of homeless people in the 65-74 age group grew by nearly 38% in the five years to 2016, with researchers saying this is mainly due to rents increasing much faster than incomes.”

Xotel’s goal is to prevent the homelessness situation from getting worse by helping all age groups to find a safe and affordable place to stay. Check out our website and our social media pages for more details.

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