Housing stress worsens under pandemic

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Data from the Australian National University (ANU) suggests the number of Australians who have been unable to pay their rent or mortgage on time has more than doubled since the pandemic began.

In a survey of over 3,200 people, the study found the number of people not being able to meet regular payments for housing costs increased from 6.9% in April to 15.1% in May.

According to the study’s co-author, Professor Matthew Gray, the level of housing stress is “substantially higher” for renters than for mortgage holders.  

“What’s also worrying is that young adults are experiencing very high rates of housing stress, with 44% of people aged 18 to 24 years unable to pay their rent on time,” Professor Gray said.

“Young Australians are still more likely to be in housing stress once income and socioeconomic status is controlled for, suggesting that there is more to housing stress than just income for this group. This is because their accumulated savings and wealth are likely to be low.”

Professor Gray said policies from governments and banks to protect renters and mortgage holders unable to make payments were also examined under the study: 22.2% of mortgage holders have been successful in reducing or freezing their payments, compared to just over one in 10 renters.

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