Australia’s rental market slump exposed as family of four cope with sleep

Families across Australia are being forced to sleep in their cars or in tents as the housing crisis spirals out of control.

Few people know this problem as well as Aaron Walker and his partner Belinda, who were told they had three weeks to find a new place to live – or face the prospect of sleeping in their ute.

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The problem for the couple, who have two children aged 8 and 10, is that they keep getting sold on the rental market.

The Walkers had lived in the same Queensland tenancy for five years.

But, Aaron said Sunrisethe value of the property jumped hundreds of thousands of dollars in just one year, and the owner decided to sell.

The Walker family will be homeless in three weeks. Credit: Sunrise

Since then, they have been effectively couch surfing, moving in with an older lady.

However, when her son returns in three weeks, they were told they had to leave.

“I personally believe it’s just a series of unfortunate events that happened so far so fast and I don’t believe the system was able to cope or able to keep up once it was really set. moving,” Aaron mentioned.

“The house we were living in went up $300,000 in 12 months and the owner pulled the trigger and sold it.

“And because we had been out of the rental market for a while and reinjected into it, it was a shock to suddenly realize how terrible the situation really was.”

Aaron Walker says he cuts a good figure for his kids.
Aaron Walker says he cuts a good figure for his kids. Credit: Sunrise

He says he has applied in recent weeks for “hundreds” of places.

But he keeps getting the same answer – no.

“And if it’s not a no, you can’t even make it to inspection because you just get a text from officers saying don’t show up, someone’s already taken it.”

He says families like his are being shut out of the market, with people contacting agents directly and offering up to $100 a week more than the asking rental price.

“The problem I find, which has been portrayed to me, is that there is a bidding war for rental. People can just walk in with a handful of cash and blind everyone.

Aaron says he feels like the system has failed him and as a father he has failed his children.

Rental prices could worsen further in the coming weeks as the Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to raise the spot rate.

This would make mortgages more expensive and – eventually – landlords could pass this increase on to their tenants.

Aaron and his son Aadyn talk to Sunrise.
Aaron and his son Aadyn talk to Sunrise. Credit: Sunrise

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said a balance needed to be struck in housing policy to ensure it did not put pressure on prices, but that more could be done to help struggling families.

“We’ve helped people get into the housing market,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“But it’s a much bigger story than the government’s proposals.

“It’s also a story about social housing.

“But these interest rate hikes are going to hurt and Scott Morrison – who takes credit when the economy is doing well – won’t take responsibility for the fact that a decade now of attacks on real wages in this country is making it harder for people to cope with what is going to be the rising cost of their mortgage.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier told reporters in Cairns that global factors were putting pressure on interest rates.

Aaron says his family may have to sleep in their car if they can't find a place to live.
Aaron says his family may have to sleep in their car if they can’t find a place to live. Credit: Sunrise

But he said Australians had made sound decisions about their finances in line with the government’s strong economic management.

“The amount of capital, funding, sitting on Australian household balance sheets and corporate balance sheets today is almost unprecedented, he said.

“And they did it because they were wise, and we were also wise stewards of taxpayers’ money to make sure our economy is set up to operate in a very, very difficult environment.”

An Anglicare study published on Thursday found that out of 45,000 properties analysed, only seven were affordable for someone receiving the JobSeeker payment.

Less than 1% was affordable for those on disability pension or old age pension.

– With PAA

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