A research report into long-term renting has indicated it is an area in urgent need of policy attention.
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute said Australia has a growing population that is facing housing and financial stress in the private rental market.
It added a number of households are struggling to get, or maintain, a foothold in the sector. According to the 2011 Census, 33.4 per cent of all private renters have now been renting for 10 or more years continuously – which is up from around a quarter of all renters in 1994.
Looking at long-term renters in total, 45 per cent have incomes in the bottom 40 per cent of the income distribution.
“The private rental sector is no longer residual to the 'main game' of home ownership and social rental; it is at the centre of the housing system, giving the system its capacity to cope with external and internal changes in demand,” the report said.
“It seems apparent that the private rental sector is experiencing some growing pains as it settles into its much more significant role within the housing market.” The report said tenure patterns have changed significantly, with fewer younger and middle-aged people owning their own home and, across all age groups, fewer owning outright.
“The rate of home ownership in Australia is being sustained at about 70 per cent of households in private dwellings by the high rate of ownership of the present generation of older people," it said.
“As time progresses, it now seems certain that the aggregate rate of home ownership will drop and the proportion renting will increase significantly.”
[Related: Rent affordability best in half a decade]