A recent survey found renters are calling for greater support, improved services, financial incentives and the recognition of renting as an accepted lifestyle choice.
Of the 1,541 respondents for the Rent.com.au survey, over 83 per cent reported that their needs have not been acknowledged by the major political parties during the election campaign, and that they feel unsupported as renters.
A significant majority (95 per cent) of respondents said rents are still too high, and although nearly a quarter of respondents were happy renting with no intention of purchasing a house (26.6 per cent), more than half (57.7 per cent) believe that renting is still not an accepted lifestyle choice due to the ‘great Australian dream’ of home ownership.
In ranking the key election issues in order of importance, respondents placed health (26.8 per cent), housing (25.5 per cent) and economy (25.4 per cent) clearly above safety and security (9.3 per cent), environment (8.1 per cent) and education (8.2 per cent).
Renters said their weekly rental payments were mostly in the $350-$700 bracket (49.06 per cent), followed by the $150-$350 bracket (41.96 per cent).
According to Mark Woschnak, CEO of Rent.com.au, the rental demographic in Australia is on the rise, consistent with global trends.
“Australia’s 7 million renters make up a significant proportion of around 30 per cent of the population, and this number is steadily increasing,” he said.
“This upward trajectory in renter demographics, particularly in the 18-35 age range, reflects a growing market, and one in need of more advocacy and recognition.”
Mr Woschnak said that while housing affordability remains a major priority, renters are also calling for improved services, more options and the acceptance of renting as a respected lifestyle choice, as it is in other parts of the world.
“In Australia, we appear to be at a point of increased momentum in the vocalisation of the needs of renters, and we’re seeing a shift from the traditional stereotypes that have existed around home ownership,” Mr Woschnak said.
“There is no doubt that an increase in housing affordability issues, job mobility, lifestyle and investment preferences [are] causing this trend.”
Rent.com.au’s data confirms renters are tired of being viewed as second-class citizens and disregarded as not having the same respect towards their property as owners, Mr Woschnak said.
“Renting has long been a major part of the real estate industry, albeit largely overlooked and underserviced when compared to the property sales and home buying sector, and looks set to increase in its importance and prominence,” he said.
“Whether renters are investing, renting or working towards home ownership, we will continue to look closely at this core demographic and work to facilitate better communication, services and support within the entire renting process.”
[Related: Lifestyle renting on the rise]