LOW-income households in WA could be paying as much as 57 per cent of their income on rent, according to the Rental Affordability Index.
The index – released by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning – revealed an ongoing depth and extremity of housing stress faced by moderate and low-income renters in WA’s rental market, despite some recent improvements to affordability.
A map of rental affordability across the State showed rental prices in Perth were unaffordable, especially in single-income households.
Shelter WA spokeswoman Louise Pratt said the report painted a “dire picture” for low-income households.
“Housing stress can occur when households pay more than 30 per cent of their income on rent,” she said.
“Low-income households in WA earning $500 per week need to pay around 57 per cent of their income on rent.
“This means that for low-income households rents remain extremely unaffordable, despite recent market improvements. Rent is a big factor driving household stress and poverty for those on moderate to low-incomes.
“The proportion of people renting in WA continues to increase and as this report shows, housing affordability is a much bigger problem for renters than owner occupiers.
“The unaffordability of rents and the lack of security for renters in the market means we really need both State and national policy responses.
“Otherwise, the problem and household poverty will continue to grow,” Ms Pratt said.
In the Weekend-Kwinana Courier area, median rental prices for a house fall in the $320-$400 per week range, which is below the Perth metropolitan median of $420 per week.
The highest median rent is $400 per week in Secret Harbour, followed by Baldivis and Port Kennedy at $390 per week, and Rockingham at $360.
Among the more affordable suburbs are Parmelia at $320 per week, Hillman at $328 per week, and Cooloongup, Medina and Orelia at $330 per week.
Median rental prices for a house in the Weekend-Kwinana Courier area (figures from REIWA, to the three months to October 2015):
Suburb Median rental price per week
Port Kennedy $390
Secret Harbour $400