The Rental Affordability Index (RAI) is a price index for housing rental markets.It is an easy to understand indicator of rental affordability relative to household incomes and is applied to geographic areas across Australia.

National Shelter, Community Sector Banking, SGS and Brotherhood of St Laurence release the RAI on a biannual basis.

The results of this release have found that Hobart is still the least affordable capital city to rent, with even moderate income working households paying 30% of their income to access a rental.

This release focuses on vulnerable demographics, including single mothers and single males. It has been found that there are 110,000 single parent, low income households nation wide and out of over 90,000 of these households, 82% involve single mothers who are living in rental stress. Majority of these women earn $41,600 per annum or less, meaning they are paying between 40% – 70% of their income on rent.

There are approximately 244,000 low income, single person households experiencing rental stress in Australia – 57% of people in this household profile are single men. More than half of single men renting earn less than $36,400 per annum meaning in any capital city they would be paying between 34% – 68% of their income on rent causing rental stress.

Ellen Witte, Principal and Partner at SGS and lead author of the report states “The tax regime treats housing as an investment objective first and a place of residence second”.

The RAI report is accompanied by an interactive map that allows users to search rental affordability by household profile or by income and number of bedroom dwellings.

View the full size interactive map and a print version of the report here.