The average price for rentals are cheaper in Sydney than Byron Bay.
The average price for rentals are cheaper in Sydney than Byron Bay. DAVID NIELSEN

Byron Bay out of reach for low income earners

This years Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot report found chronic shortages of affordable rental properties on the NSW North Coast were getting worse, and people on low incomes could no longer afford to live in places such as Byron Bay.

Queensland University Business Faculty Associate Professor, Philip Bodman joked that on the back of Byron's popularity may be the fact it's a hotspot for Hollywood celebrities.

"The media focuses on the area like why wouldn't you come to Byron when you might spot Thor or the likes," Mr Bodman said.

"Byron Bay's population increase coupled with short sighted planning by governments such as limited land release is creating a sort of housing bubble on certain areas," he said.

Each year the organisation's annual Rental Snapshot reviews the number of available rental properties available on a single weekend.

This year, out of 67,000 properties surveyed, the research found less than 1 per cent were affordable for pensioners and those on other Centrelink benefits, or those earning the minimum wage.

"Everybody wants access to nice neighbourhoods, schools and the finer things in life, this puts us back to the general issue around ensuring the economy does well," he said.

Among an ageing population and stagnating achievements of education Mr Bodman said the casualisation of the economy has seen a lot of people having a more limited attachment to the workforce and employment.

"It has to do a with a social attitude towards housing, there are ideas people would rather generate their wealth creations through housing," Mr Bodman said.

Mr Bodman said the situation is something Australia needs to grapple with.

"When housing for people in the lower income distribution is bad it tends to spill over in to other kinds of social problems.

"There are additional costs associated with low quality housing outcomes for people, such as mental health which then creates a cost burden for the economy."

Mr Bodman said a focus on local council and what they can do in terms of zoning and leasing further land is a good place to start when looking how to solve the issue.


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