2.72 Million Australians at Risk of Rental Stress: Survey

With rents nation-wide at record highs, more Australians are at risk of falling into rental stress
Published on June 7th, 2022
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Commentary by 
Bill Tsouvalas

Guest Contributor

Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Australians at risk of rental stress

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Savvy's 2022 cost of living survey learns how rising rents are impacting average Australians.

  • 1.42 million Australians devote 31-45% of their income to rent
  • 1.12 million report spending 46%-60% of their income on rent
  • 50% of 18-24-year-olds say they’re stressed about rent or potential rent increases
  • 40% of 25–34-year-old cohort and 33% of 35-44 year old cohort say the same

A representative national survey commissioned by Savvy has revealed that 7.4% of Australians (out of a total 23.28% who report they rent their home) say 31% to 45% of their income is going towards paying their rent; 5.8% saying they are devoting 46% to 60% of their income toward rent.

Extrapolated to the wider population, this signals that 1.42 million Australians may be in some form of rental stress, and 1.1 million Australians may be experiencing extreme rental stress. When combined, the total number of Australians spending 30% or more of their income on rent amounts to 14%, or a possible 2,719,000 individuals nationwide.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, households or individuals are considered under rental stress if they are spending more than 30% of their income on rent.

With inflation still at 5.1% and wage growth at 2.3%, there’s still a big gap between cost-of-living affordability.

Rental Stress in Australia infographic

The young most stressed

Young Australians have self-reported that they are significantly worried about rent or potential rent increases in the months and years ahead.

50% of 18-24-year-olds surveyed said that rent was on their minds as a big stress point – 40% of 25–34-year-olds and 33% of 33-44-year-olds said the same.

Portion of weekly income going to rent in Australia

Bill Tsouvalas, Savvy Managing Director & personal finance expert;

Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas says that as numbers of young people stress about rent increase, the further and further away home ownership becomes – and it’s not just an isolated financial problem.

“Rental stress isn’t just being a bit worried about a lack of money for luxuries, it’s a real and persistent financial pressure that affects your ability to pay for necessities,” Tsouvalas says. “It can take a toll on your wellbeing, and never really goes away. Renters may be on edge already due to rising cost of living. They may be behind the eight-ball due to COVID-19 lockdowns, reduced hours, and layoffs."

“A sudden excess payment, repair bill, or urgent appliance replacement could set them on the edge of real financial hardship - or put them in that position almost overnight.”

If you are experiencing acute mental stress due to finances, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 131 114.

Savvy - 2022 Cost of Living Survey (n = 1005) 

Nationally representative survey of 1000 adult Australians, aged 18 and over. Conducted by Octopus Group, on behalf of Savvy.

Completion date: 20/05/2022

Age groups:18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+

Gender breakdown: male n=500, female n=501, non-binary /prefer not to say n=4


Housingdata.gov.au - Low income rental households in rental stress

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