New research shows Hunter renters are paying a much greater share of their income on leases than they were three years ago and a much bigger proportion than the national average.
The CoreLogic report shows renters on a median income in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in March would need to spend 34.5 per cent of their gross pay on servicing a typical new lease, compared with 30.8 per cent nationally.
The share of median income required for rent across the two local government areas has grown sharply from 29.8 per cent in 2020 but is up only 0.3 percentage points in the past year.
In the rest of the Hunter, renters on a median income would need to fork out 33.5 per cent of their pay on the average rent, up from 28.4 per cent three years ago and 32.5 per cent one year ago.
The Hunter figures are three or four percentage points above the national average, which itself is at a record high.
House rents are up 25.4 per cent in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie since March 2020 and 27.1 per cent in the rest of the region. Units rents are up 24.8 per cent in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and 29.4 per cent in the rest of the Hunter.
The CoreLogic report found rental affordability was worst in regional Queensland (36 per cent of median income), regional NSW (35.4 per cent) and Hobart (34 per cent).
"At the lower household income and rent level, an unmanageable 51.6 per cent of income would be required," the report said of the national market.
"There is a particular pain point for low-income households, which is leading to increased pressure on social housing providers and homelessness service providers."
The national rental vacancy rate was 1.1 per cent in April, well below the decade average of 3 per cent.
Total rent listings are 38.1 per cent below the previous decade average.
The CoreLogic report says Australia's rental market has experienced a sharp decline in supply and vacancy since the COVID pandemic began three years ago.
CoreLogic found 181,493 rental listings across Australia in May 2020, almost double the 91,869 it found in April this year.
"Looking forward, given low vacancy rates and high immigration, rents are likely to continue to rise solidly," the report found.
"Overseas migration patterns suggest that demand will remain skewed to Melbourne and Sydney markets, while expensive regional markets are likely to plateau against affordability constraints.
"With constraints in new housing supply, and investor interest in the property market yet to see a material pick-up, there does not seem to be much short-term reprieve for renters.
"In some cases, this may lead to a growing number of Australians facing precarious housing situations."
Sydney was the most unaffordable market in Australia for home ownership, requiring 51.6 per cent of income to service a new mortgage.
The regional NSW market was close behind in second at 50.5 per cent, well above the national average of 42.7 per cent.
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