Rental affordability could be worst ever in Melbourne

RENTAL affordability in Melbourne could be the worst its ever been, with the amount of properties suitable for low-income earners shrinking drastically over the past decade.

Just 6 per cent of rentals across the city are affordable to someone on a low income, compared to almost 25 per cent 10 years ago, the latest Department of Health and Human Services Rental Report shows.

Council for Homeless Persons chief executive Jenny Smith said the situation could be the most dire since The Great Depression.

“It’s certainly the worst we’ve seen in many, many years and it’s not like it’s happened suddenly, it’s been happening steadily,” she said.

Melton, Melton South, Melton West and Kurunjang — about 35km from the city in the outer north west — provide some of the best opportunities to rent an affordable family home.

With median weekly rents between $285 and $325, they’re among Melbourne’s lowest priced, but demand far outweighs supply at the city’s most affordable end.

 “If we had more properties we’d definitely fill them with more tenants,” said Hocking Stuart, Melton, sales manager Damien Spiteri.

Hocking Stuart, Yarraville, sales consultant Stephen Simmonds said rentals in Footscray and West Footscray, among the most affordable inner suburbs (medians between $310 and $450 for houses and units), could attract more than 20 people per open and up to 10 applications a weekend.

“Lots of people are looking to get into affordable accommodation in a good community,” he said.

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