The Rental Affordability Index is issued once a year by SGS Economics, National Shelter, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Beyond Bank.


  • Rental affordability has plummeted in every capital city in 2022, with regional areas hit even harder.
  • Affordability in Greater Sydney, Greater Melbourne, Greater Adelaide and the ACT improved in affordability during the COVID-19 pandemic but declined this year.
  • Low-income households are experiencing rental stress in increasing numbers, with 42 per cent of all low-income households in rental stress in 2019/20 – up from 35 per cent in 2008.
  • When this is reserved to the private market only, the number of low-income households in rental stress surges to 58 per cent.
  • Rising rents are also outpacing JobSeeker increases, putting single people on JobSeeker at high risk of rental stress.
  • Housing stress is defined by housing costs exceeding 30 per cent of a low income household’s total income.
  • The proportion of households renting is increasing, lifting from 26 per cent in 1995 to 31 per cent in 2020.


  • Hobart remains the least affordable city based on the average rental households of each city.
  • Greater Perth has hit its lowest point since 2016.
  • Greater Brisbane has hit a historic low point of affordability.
  • Regional areas have been hit harder than capital cities.
  • Flood-affected towns have seen sharp declines in affordability, with affordability dropping 10 per cent over 12 months in Lismore and 14 per cent in Bellingen.
  • For a single person on JobSeeker, Canberra and Greater Sydney are the least affordable capital cities.
  • A single person on JobSeeker would have paid more than 115 per cent of their income on rent if living in Greater Sydney or the ACT.
  • A single pensioner living in either Sydney or Canberra would have to spend around 70 per cent of their income on rent.

Poppy Johnston

(Australian Associated Press)

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it and, where appropriate, seek professional advice.