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How long can ‘JobKeepers’ afford their rent?

14 April 2020 Cameron Micallef
Eliza Owen

Following a raft of fiscal changes to protect businesses and workers, the focus has shifted to housing, with landlords and tenants urged to work together in a difficult financial situation.

To support working Aussies, the government has announced a $130 billion package designed at keeping people in work called JobKeeper, after previously announcing social support of $1,100 per fortnight under the JobSeeker allowance.

According to CoreLogic’s head of research, Eliza Owen, the government’s policies could soften the potential financial disaster some Australians are facing.

“The JobKeeper subsidy may also see fewer households fall into housing affordability stress. Housing affordability stress is a situation where households spend more than 30 per cent of income on housing costs, such as rent,” Ms Owen said.

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In fact, according to the data, the payments may actually increase the number of households that are affordable, taking some of the financial burden off everyday Aussies.

“Flat payments are proportionately beneficial for renting households where rents are cheaper, such as in regional Tasmania and South Australia. Incidentally, these are areas that may be more severely impacted by the economic slowdown in terms of the concentration of the labour force in agriculture, food service, tourism and accommodation,” Ms Owen said.

Ms Owen also noted that self-isolation’s impact on discretionary spending could help make properties more affordable as the cost of discretionary spending falls.

“But even with the relatively small portion of rental properties being affordable elsewhere, it is likely that current social distancing measures would see less discretionary spending, enabling a higher portion of income to be used in servicing rent,” Ms Owen said.

A final takeaway from this data may be that now is an opportune time to explore more social and affordable housing supply. As well as added benefits to the construction sector, the government could look to create housing supply that compliments the payments being offered to renters.

How long can ‘JobKeepers’ afford their rent?
Eliza Owen reb
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