Rent stress costly to mental health

Rent stress costly to mental health

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Unaffordable rent has a greater chance of impacting your mental health than an unaffordable mortgage, according to a new survey.

In a report published by News Limited, the federal government’s research into the housing situation of 25 to 64 year-olds in the lower 40 per cent income bracket has found a direct link between homeownership or tenancy and mental health.

"Individuals are buffered from some of the effects of having unaffordable housing if they are contributing to a housing asset that they will eventually own," the report said. "Close to a million Australian households are estimated to be in unaffordable housing.”

The study also showed that high housing costs made it difficult for people to pay for necessities such as food, transport, or medical care.

Disadvantaged communities, such as low-income households, were at risk of health inequalities that could last for generations.

"Increased housing costs could be more harmful to the mental health of renters than homeowners because, unlike mortgage payments, rental payments aren't an investment in an asset," the report said.

"On the other hand, many private renters may find it easier to relocate to a less expensive residence if their situation changes, while owners have less flexibility to move."

The study concluded that the government’s response to poor housing affordability needed to be differentiated by housing tenure.

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