It appears as though Australian tenants have woken up from the great Australian dream, that is owning their own home, to the nightmare that is the frightening reality of renting for life.
An analysis of data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that renting in Australia has been on a rapid increase since 1966 through to the latest Census in 2011.
The increase is also tipped to see renting shadow mortgaged owner occupiers in 2016. Renting will also shadow owned owner occupiers in the not so distant future if trends for the past 50 years continue.
The data also demonstrates a slower owned & mortgaged growth, making renting in Australia the fastest growing sector of the Australian housing industry.
The median age of tenants in rented dwellings is 37 (which is also the median age of the Australian population). Compared to owned & mortgaged owner occupied dwellings at 52, it is clear that tenants make up the majority of the Australian population, which also include young families and older children still living with their parents in rented dwellings.
Australian tenants are faced with this uncertain future due to the Housing Affordability crisis.
It's a double-edged sword that ensures the high cost of rent impedes even the best of efforts to save a deposit for a house. At the same time, property prices grow further away from what ought to be the real value of property, due to unfair economic policies such as negative gearing.
We see the wealthy amassing more and more wealth in housing, at the cost of a fair go for the honest and hard working Australian renters that have done nothing to deserve the stigma of being labeled a second-rate citizen for renting - a view which is shared by many non-renting Australians.
So what does renting for life mean for me?
Being forced to rent for life could have a devastating impact on tenants. These impacts include:
- Heavy reliance on super funds & savings, as rent will still need to be paid throughout retirement
- Many Australians sell high value assets (such as the family home) in the later stages of life to pay for aged care living and support
- High cost of moving and related expenses e.g. removalists, bond cleaning, bond claims, utilities (cancellations and new installs), etc.
- Constantly increasing rents
- High stress and other health impacts, due to the problems many tenants face when renting
- Constantly debasing the family due to a lack of long-term lease options (which can be destructive to education and the emotional & mental well-being of all family members)
- Unlikely to be able to have companion or family pets
- Never experiencing the comfort, safety and general well-being from living in your own home
Renting has the potential to be a beneficial stepping stone to owning your own home. If it weren't for the double-edged sword described above, renters could have the chance of someday owning their own home by saving a deposit while renting. This will remain an impossibility unless there is serious change.
Tenants are instead finding themselves trapped inside a viscous cycle of renting they can never escape.
Tenants deserve to have a say in their future. It's time for change and it starts with you. Join the fight for tenant rights!