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Which Hunter suburbs are in extreme rental pain?


A new nationwide housing report has named two Hunter areas currently suffering extreme rental stress. 

The latest findings offer a critical snapshot of the rental market crisis across Australia, with the report’s author now urging the federal government to immediately source alternative housing options. 

The Lemon Tree Passage to Tanilba Bay area, and Mount Hutton to Windale region, both featured in the Suburbtrends Rental Pain Index’s worst 25 NSW suburbs report, released February 2024. 

The Rental Pain Index measures the combined impact of rental affordability and availability. 

The findings reveal critical levels of rental stress in several states as the national median rental prices surged 10.64% over the past 12 months. 

It also reveals Australia’s rental costs is escalating. 

for rent
Tilligerry Creek, Port Stephens sits within the area named a concern in NSW Rental Pain Index.

Suburbtrends founder Kent Lardner says the findings draw attention to the necessity for innovative and unconventional policy measures.  

The Newcastle-based data science and business leader believes by contrasting the Australian scenario with the higher prevalence of mobile home living in the United States, a reevaluation of housing policy to include prefabricated homes could be a swift and economical housing alternative.  

This approach, he suggests, could alleviate the current rental crisis. 

Mr Lardner is urging policymakers to consider broader, more adaptable housing solutions.  

“This month’s Rental Pain Index is a clarion call for action, urging a departure from traditional housing strategies towards embracing a variety of housing models, including prefabrication,” he said.  

This concept was also raised by concerned groups in November 2023.

“Through detailed analysis and national listings, Suburbtrends aims to steer policy discussions towards comprehensive strategies that address the escalating rental stress across Australia, advocating for immediate and innovative interventions to secure more accessible and affordable housing options for all Australians,” he added.

Rental affordability, expressed as a percentage of income spent on rent, varies significantly across the country, with the national median at 28.77%.  

NSW currently has the highest median rental affordability strain at 30.75%. 

A reevaluation of housing policy to include prefabricated homes could be a swift and economical housing alternative, says Suburbtrends founder Kent Lardner.

Of the 620 NSW suburb groups examined, 405 had a rental pain index over 75, with 65% of the state currently experiencing ‘Extreme Rental Pain’. 

Lemon Tree Passage – Tanilba Bay is ranked ninth in the worst NSW suburbs for rental pain index. 

Over the past 12 months, the Port Stephens region experienced a 6% rental increase, with rent now zapping 45% of a renter’s income, with just 0.57% vacancy, scoring it a whopping 99% in Rental Pain Index. 

At number 19 is the Mount Hutton – Windale region, which experienced a 10% rental increase over the past 12 months. 

Renting in this area now requires 41% of the average tenant’s income. It has a 0.68% vacancy rate and an overall score of 97% in the Rental Pain Index. 

Mr Lardner says these findings ‘underscore a critical juncture in the Australian rental market, with heightened rental pain indicative of a growing affordability crisis’.  

“The disparity between states in terms of rental increase, affordability, and pain points to the need for targeted policy interventions to alleviate the pressures on renters, particularly in the most affected regions,” he says. 

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