Wednesday, April 10, 2019

China buying up Tasmania property, causing housing to go through the roof

As Hobart's rental prices surpass Melbourne's, Gayle ponders 'how in the world' she can afford it

April 10 2019
Disability pensioner Gayle Muddyman only receives $500 a week — but with the rent of her three-bedroom house going up "ludicrously" in the last 12 months, she only has dollars to spare.

Key points:

  • House rental in Hobart is now more expensive than in Melbourne, latest figures show
  • The median rent is now $450
  • The Tenants' Union says it is shocking Tasmanians earn less than Melburnians but pay more for rent
Ms Muddyman went through "an awful amount of stress" when she found out the her rent for her outer suburbs Hobart home would increase by $50 a week — reaching $340.
It was only because Ms Muddyman's daughter and her partner offered to pay the difference that she could afford staying in her home.
"How in the world can anyone in my position really afford that? How can you pay over $300 out of a $500 wage?" she asked.
"I could only pay for it for the goodness of my daughter and her boyfriend.
"I would have had to sleep on the street for sure. There's no way I could have paid for it."
Ms Muddyman said worrying about rent had affected her nerves and ability to sleep.
So, she took the issue to the Rental Tenancy Commissioner — on the grounds the rent increase was "unreasonable".
But the Commissioner said the price Ms Muddyman paid was "in line with what the market is currently achieving".

'Rent has gone up by 50 per cent'

Ms Muddyman is just one of many Hobartians coping with what the Tenants' Union of Tasmania calls "an acute housing crisis".
Renting a house in Hobart is now more expensive than in Melbourne, latest figures from property website Domain show.
With the median rent of $450 for a house, Hobart's rental houses are now pricier than those in every capital city — except for Sydney ($540), Darwin ($500) and Canberra ($570).
Median rent for a house in Melbourne was $440, according to Domain, while Brisbane was $410, Adelaide was $390. and Perth was $365.
Senior solicitor Ben Bartl from the Tenants' Union said it was "shocking" people in Hobart paid higher rental prices even though they earned "significantly less than their Melbourne counterparts".
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) average weekly earnings report from May last year — the most recent report available — Tasmanian workers earn less per week than workers in any other state or territory.
The average weekly ordinary time earnings for a working Tasmanian adult was about $1,377, which is $206 below the national average.
ABS figures also show Tasmania's median income is lower in the greater Hobart area than any other capital city.
Mr Bartl said lower wages alongside rent increases meant people don't have stable housing.
"It is shocking that we are now having to pay more for rent than people in Melbourne," he said.
"In some cases, tenants' rent has gone up by 50, 60, 70 per cent in one hit.
"We know that there are more and more people who are having to find alternative sources of accommodation, so sleeping in cars, sleeping on couches, sleeping in parks."
He said the town was short of 700 rentals, with many properties being lent out temporarily through Airbnb.
"We strongly believe that the [Tasmanian] Government needs to be taking more action," he said.
"One of the actions we believe the Government should take is to ban Airbnbs until sufficient supply is in place."
The Tasmanian Government has been contacted for comment.
The Real Estate Institute of Tasmania's president, Tony Collidge, said for the last two years, rental prices had been going "through the roof".
"Being a small market and not being able to fill the hole that we've got in the marketplace, that's the cause of the problem," he said.

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