Local renters and homeowners are reportedly under significant pressure following a new survey that revealed 70 per cent of renters are living in housing stress.
The report from the Digital Finance Analytics & UNSW City Futures Research Centre indicated that of over 65,000 households in Robertson, or 70 per cent of renters, are in stress and 28 per cent of mortgagees are in stress.
The data also identified Robertson as having the fifth highest proportion of renters in housing stress amongst NSW.
In Robertson, there has been a near 17 per cent increase in rental prices and over 34 per cent increase in house prices, recording the 10th highest rise out of 141 electorates.
CEO of PowerHousing Australia, the national peak representative body for social and affordable housing, Nicholas Proud, said that with floods devastating the area, the expectations are for increases on these extraordinary levels.
“With the Federal election to be called in May, we have written to and are calling for Federal parliamentarians to consider the mounting challenge whereby the price rise in just one year requires an additional decade of being in debt to buy the same house,” Proud said.
“As a result of the $290,000 2021 median dwelling increases alone, a home buyer with a maximum mortgage budget limit of $3,500 paid back a month in the electorate of Robertson has to extend the loan from 20 years to 30 years to keep this monthly payment level.
“Based on this increase in price and extended payback period, they will also see an extraordinary increase of $406,703 to be paid off over the life of the loan.
“With interest rates likely to go up, the extra amount to be paid off over the life of the loan is set to be much greater.”
CEO of Pacific Link Housing and Powerhousing Member, Ian Lynch, said with housing affordability as the biggest issue for the area, the organisation is inundated with requests for support for rentals.
“As we see record increases in house prices in a calendar year, people either have to go into longer mortgages and deeper in debt or they rent and rentals are just not available, particularly after the Covid-19 property market impacts,” Lynch said.
“There is a need to have a national plan, replace and build back better existing social and affordable housing stock, and in terms of Community Housing Providers, actually commit to subsidise more affordable homes to be rented at 25-40 per cent less than the market rate – this is exactly what we do.”
It’s an issue that is being experienced across the sector with families and those fleeing from domestic violence suffering the most.
Convenor of Action on Housing Older Women, Deb Tipper, said she would like to see more affordable housing stock be made available across the Central Coast.
“It’s a critical issue here on the Coast – we have a huge need for more housing, and more safe, appropriate housing, especially for women and children,” Tipper said.
“It’s an affordability issue, particularly with circumstances involving domestic violence … moving house costs a lot- people might have enough money for a bond or a truck removalist but they don’t always have the money to access everything they need.
“Rents are up, there are forced evictions happening, with nowhere for people to go.
Tipper said local refuges are struggling to help people fleeing from violence due to the lack of affordable housing stock on the Coast.
“When you don’t have the housing stock to move people through the refuges, when you can’t move them on, you create a blockage and you cannot take on any more families,” Tipper said.
“The whole system relies on forward movement, and when there is a kink in the system, the whole system breaks down.
“We need a massive capital injection from government in order to create rental housing stock, as there are fewer people who will be able to purchase a home – housing is a health issue … it’s a right.”
Organisations are now asking the major parties to develop a national plan for housing to consider and counter the rising affordability challenge, create additional social and affordable housing that focuses on replacement with net increase, inject capital funds to buy more housing stock and incentivise equity investment and a stable NHFIC investment CHP focused mandate.
A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment said they “understand the housing pressures facing regional NSW.
“We are committed to enabling more housing at diverse price points now and into the future,” the spokesperson said.
“We set up the Regional Housing Taskforce to make recommendations about how we can combat housing shortages, provide more choice, bring forward the supply of shovel ready land and speed up the delivery of new homes.
“Central Coast Council is one of 21 councils eligible to apply for $1.4M in funding through our $30M Regional Housing Fund, to deliver new infrastructure upgrades and public and open space projects that directly support new housing supply.
“This funding opportunity is our immediate response to those recommendations, while we work on a comprehensive whole-of-government response, which will be released in coming months.”
CCN did reach out to Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, for comment.