Renters facing 'dire' situation as affordability hits record low

The housing affordability crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

Rent prices across Australian cities are reaching critical levels, according to data from the latest Rental Affordability Index.

All metropolitan areas studied in the report experienced a decline in rental affordability in the last two quarters of 2016, with Perth being the only exception.

Unsurprisingly, Sydney is the worst hit area, with rental affordability reaching a record low in what is already the country's most expensive market.

Households in NSW now face a median rent of $500 per week, which represents around 29 per cent of average household income.

That means the average renter is on the verge of "rental stress", when housing costs consume a disproportionately high amount - over 30 per cent - of household income.

Regional NSW has also declined in affordability, with the average renter spending 28 per cent of total income.

Elsewhere, Greater Melbourne remains the second most affordable metropolitan area with 24 per cent of average income going on rent, only a slight increase from the last report.

Affordability also slightly declined in Greater Brisbane and Greater Adelaide. On average, 25 per cent of household income is spent on rent in both cities.

Greater Perth is the most affordable of all the metropolitan areas studied.

Rent affordability here is actually improving, and average payments now make up around 21% of income.

The report warns that rising rent prices mean pensioners and working parents are being priced out of the market across Australia.

You can see how affordable your area is here.

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