Homelessness & Affordable Housing

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  Monday, 16 October 2017

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Access to safe, affordable housing that meets the diverse needs of a community is a key measure of a successful city.

Today, with its rapidly growing population, record housing prices and limited rental accommodation, Melbourne is facing a major challenge in housing access and affordability.

The median price of a property across Greater Melbourne is now $566,000; an increase of 19 per cent in the last five years. A home is now more than seven times the average annual income in Victoria, up from five times the average income in 2001.1

Home ownership is now out of reach for many Melburnians, with more people now renting for longer. This creates stronger competition for rental properties, which affects lower income households with less capacity to compete in the market.

It is also estimated that 82,724 homes and potential rental properties are vacant in Greater Melbourne.2

More households are reporting housing ‘stress’, and struggle to pay their rent or mortgage. On average, Melburnians are spending more than one quarter of their incomes on rent.3 All sectors need to work together to solve this issue.

Melbourne is facing a major challenge in housing access and affordability.

The current situation

Not enough rental accommodation

There is a shortage of at least 72,200 rental homes for households that earn the bottom 40 per cent of incomes. As a result, nearly 60 per cent of low and very low income households are paying unaffordable rents–defined as more than a third of their income.4


In a rental market snapshot taken during April 2017, 0.7 per cent of private rental properties advertised in Greater Melbourne were suitable for a household living on income support payments.5

 
Affordable housing for households on income support payments6
City Affordable
Housing
Greater Brisbane 12.3%
Greater Adelaide 3.7%
Greater Perth 3.0%
Greater Melbourne 0.7%
Greater Sydney 0.0%

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Across Greater Melbourne, cheaper housing is often located in areas with higher levels of crime and lower levels of access to services and employment. This can entrench disadvantage.7
 

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An April 2017 survey found only one property in Greater Melbourne that was affordable for a single person on Newstart Allowance.9

More people are homeless

As of 2011, approximately 23,000 people are homeless, and stay in temporary crisis accommodation, sleep in cars, or ‘couch surf’ at family or friends’ homes.10

It is estimated that five per cent of Victoria’s homeless are ‘rough sleepers’, sleeping on the streets or improvised dwellings such as tents or site sheds.11

The number of improvised dwellings increased 31 per cent across Greater Melbourne between 2011 and 2016, compared to five per cent in regional Victoria.12

Nearly 40 per cent of all improvised housing in Greater Melbourne is located within the City of Melbourne, and this increased more than 175 per cent between 2011 and 2016.13

In the past three years, Melbourne has lost 460 rooms in crisis accommodation.14 This further limits the options available to
people at risk of homelessness.

Older women are at particular risk of homelessness. Consequences stemming from relationship breakdown, family violence or illness, the high cost of housing, lower superannuation or income from casual work, the gender pay gap and unpaid carer roles can result in housing instability.15

Since 2012, the number of older women who are ‘couch surfing’ has increased by 83 per cent. There has also been a 75 per cent increase in older women sleeping in their cars presenting at homelessness services.16


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More social housing needed

Despite growing demand, the stock of public and community housing continues to decline as a proportion of all housing in Victoria. Public and community housing accounts for three per cent of all dwellings, down from four per cent in 2006.18
 

New types of development

Suburban subdivision in Melbourne’s growth corridors has continued at a relatively constant pace since 2001. More than 195,000 new dwellings were added to Greater Melbourne’s stock between 2011 and 2016.19
 

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Most new apartment development has occurred within the inner suburbs. The biggest increase in new dwellings however has occurred in the outer regions of Greater Melbourne. The creation of standalone housing in Melbourne’s outer suburbs accounted for 30 per cent of new dwellings.20
 

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The number of new townhouses in Greater Melbourne increased by 60 per cent in the five years leading up to 2016.22

Number of Dwellings in Greater Melbourne23

 

Dwellings
(2011)

Dwellings
(2016)

Separate House

1,039,342

1,067,637

Semi-Detached House

165,486

264,409

Flat/Apartment

219,111

231,297

Other*

6,159

6,400

*Includes caravans, houseboats, dwelling attached to a flat or office and improvised homes.
 

New homes replacing farmland

New residential developments in the city’s outer regions are replacing farmland and habitat. This impacts on Melbourne’s capacity to produce food and the environmental sustainability of the metropolitan region.24
 

References

1 CoreLogic, “Housing Affordability Report,” December 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.corelogic.com.au/reports/CL_Housing-Affordability-Dec_2016.pdf

2 C. Cashmore, “Speculative Vacancies 8,” 2015. [Online]. Available: https://www.prosper.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/11Final_Speculative-Vacancies-2015-1.pdf

3 CoreLogic, “Housing Affordability Report,” December 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.corelogic.com.au/reports/CL_Housing-Affordability-Dec_2016.pdf

4 K. Hulse, M. Reynolds, W. Stone and J. Yates, “Supply Shortages and Affordability Outcomes in the Private Rental Sector: Short and Longer Term Trends,” 9 June 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www. ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/241

5 Anglicare Australia, “Rental Affordability Snapshot,” April 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/ default-document-library/anglicare-australia-ras-2017---reissue-final.pdf?sfvrsn=0

6 Anglicare Australia, “Rental Affordability Snapshot,” April 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/ default-document-library/anglicare-australia-ras-2017---reissue-final.pdf?sfvrsn=0

7 Anglicare Australia, “Rental Affordability Snapshot,” April 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/ default-document-library/anglicare-australia-ras-2017---reissue-final.pdf?sfvrsn=0

8 K. Hulse, M. Reynolds, W. Stone and J. Yates, “Supply Shortages and Affordability Outcomes in the Private Rental Sector: Short and Longer Term Trends,” 9 June 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www. ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/241

9 Anglicare Australia, “Rental Affordability Snapshot,” April 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/ default-document-library/anglicare-australia-ras-2017---reissue-final.pdf?sfvrsn=0

10 Homelessness Australia, “Homelessness in Victoria,” [Online]. Available: http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/images/publications/Infographics/state_sheets_VIC.pdf

11 Homelessness Australia, “Homelessness in Victoria,” [Online]. Available: http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/images/publications/Infographics/state_sheets_VIC.pdf

12 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “TableBuilder 2011 Census - Dwelling Characteristics,” 26 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www. abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/2016%20TableBuilder

13 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “TableBuilder 2016 Census - Selected Dwellings Characteristics,” 27 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/2016%20 TableBuilder

14 E. Witte, “The Case for Investing in Last Resort Housing,” Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Issues Paper No.10, The University of Melbourne, 2017.

15 S. Darab and Y. Hartman, “Understanding Single Older Women’s Invisibility in Housing Issues in Australia,” Housing, Theory and Society, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 348-367, 2013.

16 Council to Homeless Persons, “Hidden Homelessness on the Rise,” 7 August 2017. [Online]. Available: http://chp.org.au/wp-content/ uploads/2017/08/170807-rapid-rise-in-hidden-forms-of-homelessness-HW2017.pdf

17 Council to Homeless Persons, “Homelessness in Victoria,” 2012. [Online]. Available: http://chp.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/10122012_Homelessness-in-Victoria-with-2011- ABS-stats.pdf

18 Victorian Auditor General, “Managing Victoria’s Public Housing,” June 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.audit.vic.gov.au/sites/ default/files/20170621-Public-Housing.pdf

19 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “2011 Census QuickStats,” 28 March 2013. [Online]. Available: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/2GMEL?opendocument&navpos=220

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “2016 Census Quick Stats,” 27 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/2GMEL?opendocument

20 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “TableBuilder 2011 Census - Dwelling Characteristics,” 26 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www. abs.gov.au/websitedbs/D3310114.nsf/Home/2016%20TableBuilder

21 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “2016 Census Quick Stats,” 27 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/2GMEL?opendocument

22 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “2011 Census QuickStats,” 28 March 2013. [Online]. Available: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/2GMEL?opendocument&navpos=220

Australian Bureau of Statistics, “2016 Census Quick Stats,” 27 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/2GMEL?opendocument

23 R. Carey, K. Larsen and J. Sheridan, “Melbourne’s Food Future: Planning a Resilient City Foodbowl,” 2016. [Online]. Available: http:// veil.msd.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/2355148/ Foodprint-Melbourne-summary-briefing.pdf
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