Low-hanging fruit won’t feed Canberra’s appetite for affordable housing

News of a growing divide between the haves and have-nots in Canberra’s property market makes for sobering reading.

In the latest nationwide Rental Affordability Index, only Sydney was a worse place to live for those on low incomes.

A roof over our heads is a basic human need and in Canberra, where we are blessed with a strong economy and high average incomes, it is not something we should struggle to provide.

Yet, according to the latest index, rents chewed-up 73 per cent of the average single Canberra pensioner’s income. For a single person on benefits, the situation is even more dire – according to the report they paid 110 per cent of their income towards rent. In other words, they go backwards with every payment.

Each of these figures is well over the 30 per cent threshold that signifies “housing stress”, or that a private rental property is unaffordable.