Qld rental market crisis expected to worsen with end of support scheme
A grim new map shows the ‘eye-watering’ impacts of a potential housing crisis, with one state expected to suffer the most.
The looming expiration of a government support scheme will “kick the legs out from under” Queensland renters, according to new analysis from a housing advocacy group.
Of the tens of thousands of Australians who rely on the national rental affordability scheme (NRAS), nearly one third are located in Queensland.
And of the top 20 most affected electorates, more than half are located in the Sunshine State with the affordable housing group Everybody’s Home warning the expiration of the scheme will disproportionately crunch thousands of families struggling to pay rent.
The scheme provides rental homes 20 per cent below market rate to low and middle income households through a federal government subsidy of more than $8300 per dwelling a year.
There was also a contribution from the state government of nearly $2800.
But the Morrison government has committed to weaning renters off the scheme after it reached the end of its 10-year cycle.
The remaining incentives will expire between 2021 and 2024, which Everybody’s Home fears will compound affordability given soaring house prices and fierce competition for rentals.
“Tens of thousands of Queenslanders rely on this program to make their homes affordable yet in the midst of the worst housing affordability crisis in Australian history, the commonwealth is about to kick the legs out from under them,” the group’s national spokesman Kate Colvin told NCA NewsWire.
“Everyone from the Reserve Bank of Australia to the International Monetary Fund knows that Australia’s housing boom is out of control.
“It’s not just house auctions that are crazy. Families are turning up to rental property inspections only to find they have to compete with dozens of others seeking the same property.”
Rental asking prices in Brisbane rose by nearly 14 per cent over the past year, according to SQM Research, while in Ipswich it lifted nearly 12 per cent, Cairns was nearly 9 per cent higher and prices soared in Gold Coast by nearly 29 per cent.
Ms Colvin said prices across Queensland were “eye-watering”, describing the continuation of the scheme as just the beginning of what was needed to help struggling families.
“We also need a more enduring solution,” she said.
“A permanent and ambitious expansion of social and affordable housing would give people on modest incomes more choice and a better chance at housing stability.
“In a wealthy, advanced nation such as Australia, securing a home should not resemble survival of the fittest.”
But the Morrison government flatly rejected the prospect of restoring the affordability scheme, which Housing Minister Michael Sukkar described as a “deeply flawed program”.
“An independent review found it was rorted by some participants,” he said in a statement provided to NCA NewsWire.
“Australian taxpayers forked out $3.5bn to deliver just 35,000 properties, of which about 5000 are specialist student accommodation, that do nothing to offer low-income families affordable housing.
“The NRAS has therefore closed to new entrants but will continue to operate until June 2026 with properties progressively exiting as their 10-year time frame for incentives ends, as was the intention of the former Labor government’s original design in 2008.”