Lismore slugged by rising rents
NEW State Government figures show Lismore rents are rising rapidly with concerns workers on low incomes could be priced out of the area.
Lismore’s median weekly rent for three-bedroom dwellings in the June quarter was up $20 on the previous year to $300, according to Housing NSW’s latest Rent and Sales Report, released this week.
The median rent for a dwelling with two bedrooms was up $20 to $220, while a dwelling with four or more bedrooms was up $30 to $350.
Across the rest of regional NSW the median weekly rent for a three-bedroom home was $270.
Northern Rivers Social Development Council chief executive Tony Davies said because Northern Rivers incomes were, on average, about two-thirds the State average, local residents were spending a greater proportion of their income on rent.
“There are very high levels of rental stress in the area,” he said.
Mr Davies said there was a real danger that people in low-paying service industries could be forced to leave the area if the trend continued.
“People who work in childcare, aging, hospitality, retailing and other sectors who are the life blood of the region’s economy, but are often casual or part-time workers, need to be able to afford to live in the region,” he said.
Wal Murray Lismore senior property manager Sue De La Mare said rental prices had been rising for the past four years after a long period of stability due to recent population increases.
In particular there was a lack of cheaper rentals caused by things like first-home buyers snapping up cheaper properties and a lack of new housing development.
“The solution is to build more affordable housing,” she said. “And it’s up to government to give people incentives to do it. For example, giving investors tax breaks to make the investment market more appealing.”
Ms De La Mare also blamed the Lismore City Council for not releasing enough land for new residential development.
Mr Davies said low vacancy rates in the area meant many people were struggling to find affordable accommodation, especially those with the most need.
He said a sole parent needing to move house because of violence would probably struggle to find housing on the private market.
Lismore Council general manager Paul O’Sullivan said the council was aware of the affordable housing shortage and was tackling the problem through its new draft local environment plan and the fast tracking of the southern truck sewerage line, which would see several new areas of land released.