Evictions into homelessness double as rents soar

As recently reported in the Sunday Age newspaper, the number of people being ‘evicted into homelessness’ has more than doubled over five years as rents rise to historic highs, leaving low-income earners unable to find or sustain a rental…Last financial year over 43,751 people presented at Victorian homelessness services due to eviction, up from 17,930 in 2011-12. 

The casualties of the housing boom are low-income earners who can’t afford Melbourne’s rents, let alone to buy. Higher house prices mean more aspiring homeowners are renting for longer, which creates more competition and pushes up rents in a ‘landlords’ market.

To ease the pressure of sky-high rents we desperately need to boost the supply of social housing stock in Victoria. 

In our State Budget Submission, we’ve called for stamp duty revenue to be used to build more social housing for the ‘casualties’ of this housing crisis.

The housing boom which has left so many without a home, is ironically delivering a stream of revenue to the State Government in the form of stamp duty. We think it makes sense to use those windfall gains to build more social housing for low-income earners.

The mid-year State Budget forecast showed that the Victorian Government is expected to pocket $6.57B in stamp duty over 2017-18 – almost double that of 2011-12. CHP found that there is a statistically significant relationship between the increase in the number of people being evicted into homelessness and the increase in stamp duty revenue over the last five years.

Recent State Government announcements, including a rough sleeping action plan, show it is committed to tackling the housing and homelessness crisis, but the scale of the problem means that it needs to maintain that level of action. 

Of course, rising rents and evictions, and resulting homelessness are far from unique to Victoria, as they are being driven in part by population growth, Federal housing taxation settings, and an absence of a national affordable housing plan.

Australia increasingly views housing as a commodity rather than the shelter we all need.