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Why 4 in 10 households can’t afford essential items

  • October 16 2020
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Why 4 in 10 households can’t afford essential items

By Cameron Micallef
October 16 2020

Almost 40 per cent of tenants' households can’t afford essential items including bills, clothing, transport and food after they are paying rent due to falls in income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, new research reveals.

Why 4 in 10 households can’t afford essential items

Why 4 in 10 households can’t afford essential items

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  • October 16 2020
  • Share

Almost 40 per cent of tenants' households can’t afford essential items including bills, clothing, transport and food after they are paying rent due to falls in income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, new research reveals.

Why 4 in 10 households can’t afford essential items

Survey results released by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and University of Adelaide found that Australians on less than $90,000 had higher rates of reduced working hours, temporary job loss and reduction in income when compared with higher-income households.

This is causing lower-income households to struggle to pay for the essentials after paying their rent.

“COVID-19 has been devastating for many Australians, but those in the rental sector have been particularly impacted,” said project leader Professor Emma Baker, University of Adelaide professor of housing research.

“The pandemic, and the subsequent economic and social lockdown, has rapidly changed our housing system: the way we use our homes, our ability to afford them, and the role of government safety nets. 

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“The pandemic has placed many people in the rental market at risk; they face uncertainty, tenure insecurity, financial hardship and significant mental health effects.”

The report also found that Australians were unsure of their economic future coming out of the pandemic, with many believing they would still require government assistance.

When households were asked if they think they will need financial assistance in the coming 12 months, 28 per cent responded that they would, 31 per cent said they did not know and 40 per cent said that they would not.

“Many renters are currently buffered from the full economic effects of the pandemic by their savings, their superannuation and rent deferment, as well as a temporary government support in the form of eviction moratoriums, JobKeeper and JobSeeker,” Professor Baker explained. 

“With the ongoing health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still evolving, if these savings and superannuation buffers eventually run out, renters will be entirely dependent on packages of government support. In the absence of an effective and accessible vaccine, it is likely that the situation for renters captured in this mid-2020 snapshot will be different – and almost certainly worse – by mid-2021.”

Why 4 in 10 households can’t afford essential items
Why 4 in 10 households can’t afford essential items
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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