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Older renters and homeowners in financial strife across NSW

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Older Australians living in NSW are facing significant housing stress and insecurity regardless of whether they rent or own, a new report has found.

According to the Council of the Aging NSW’s (COTA) latest report released today, 15.3 per cent of Australians aged over 50 with a mortgage do not intend to pay of their home loan, while 71.5 per cent of renters in the same demographic are paying 30 per cent of their income on rent.

The report, entitled ‘Debt, Rent and Homelessness: An Insecure Future’ surveyed 7,600 older people from across the state and combined their responses with census data and other published reports.

The findings indicated that 13 per cent of older homeowners have a mortgage, while a significant 21.1 per cent of renters over 50 believe they spend more than 60 per cent of their income on rent.

For many renters (39.7 per cent) the main source of this income was either the Aged or Disability pension.

Despite capital cities commonly being flagged for performing particularly poorly on housing affordability, COTA NSW’s report found that there was actually no significant difference in findings based on where the respondents lived in the state.

Meagan Lawson, CEO at COTA NSW says the report shows the need for better affordable and accessible housing solutions for older Australians.

“For many older people in NSW, housing security remains elusive,” she said.

“There are a significant number of people experiencing mortgage and housing stress in our state as well as many relying on other people for their housing. Measures need to be implemented to help support older home owners and renters who are struggling.”

She recommends increasing the state’s social housing offering, reassessing eligibility guidelines for older people attempting to access priority social housing and increasing the payments of Newstart Allowance and Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

“The current system, and how we think of housing, isn’t working. We need new ideas and new solutions – co-housing, cooperatives or mixed equity - that are affordable for all people across their life course,” Ms Lawson concluded.

Older renters and homeowners in financial strife across NSW
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