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Rising rents push more Victorians over the homelessness precipice


New data shows rents in Melbourne have increased 7.7% over the past year to $430 a week, and increased by 8.9% to $395 in regional Victoria.

And it’s also harder to find a new rental with vacancy rates in Melbourne down to 3.6%, while vacancy rates in regional Victoria are at just 2.1%

While Covid lockdowns made it easier to find a cheaper rental in Melbourne’s rental market, costs have now increased past pre-Covid prices, squeezing more Victorians out of the rental market.

In mid-2017, fewer than 7,000 people came to Victorian homelessness services each month due to housing affordability stress.

But recently released Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows that that number is up to nearly 10,000 per month.

The crisis has sparked calls from peak body Council to Homeless Persons for all political parties to commit to providing 6,000 new social housing properties each year for a decade, to increase housing affordability and ease pressures on homelessness services.

“Renters are on the front line of Victoria’s cost of living crisis,” said CHP Chief Executive Officer Jenny Smith.

“More renters are being pushed into homelessness because they can’t find a rental they can afford.’’

“Homelessness services are overwhelmed with people desperate for a home, and too many Victorians in urgent need of homelessness support, are missing out.’’

“Government can end homelessness by providing more support to respond to people needing help, and by fixing the fundamental problem of lack of affordable rentals.’’

CHP has launched its 2022 Victorian Homelessness Election Platform, which sets out a clear plan to end homelessness.

The platform calls on all political parties to commit to:

Build 6,000 social housing properties each year for ten years.

Increase the number of homelessness prevention workers in access points.

Provide a housing guarantee to victim-survivors of family violence.

Provide youth-specific housing and more case management support for young people.

Deliver more Aboriginal community-controlled housing, and implement the Blueprint for an Aboriginal-specific Homelessness System in Victoria.

Figure 1: Metropolitan Rent Index and Regional Rent Index – annual percentage change

People presenting to Victorian homelessness services each month due to housing affordability stress.

Nb. The early-mid 2021 increase came after the eviction moratorium ended. But the numbers have never returned down to pre-COVID levels.

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