Rents skyrocket on Northern Rivers

THE average cost of renting a home on the Northern Rivers has skyrocketed over the past year, with Lismore tenants copping the biggest increases.

Figures for the March quarter were released by Housing NSW this week.

They reveal that a three-bedroom property in Lismore will now cost you $295 a week, which is an increase of 5.4 per cent compared with last year, and 1.7pc more than the previous quarter.

The cost of renting a one-bedroom property in Ballina has jumped by 11pc to $200 a week.

For two bedrooms, renters are paying $280 a week, which is 5.7pc more than last year.

In Byron Bay, rents for one and three-bedroom homes have stayed steady at $230 and $420 a week, respectively.

But a two-bedroom place will now set you back about $345 – an increase of 4.5pc on last quarter, and 6.2pc more than last year.

In the Richmond Valley, the rent for a two-bedroom property has actually decreased by 5pc to $190 a week, although a three-bedroom home now costs $270, which is 8pc more than the same quarter in 2009.

Rents in Kyogle have remained steady.

Ballina MP Don Page has long campaigned for more strategies to ease the pressure for renters on the Northern Rivers, who are faced with ever-increasing rents on lower than average wages.

He says more and more people are being forced into homelessness, and has repeatedly called on the NSW Government to take action by providing more public housing.

At the Northern Rivers Housing Forum earlier this week, Karen Clegg, from Housing NSW, acknowledged that housing affordability and homelessness were major problems in the area.

“We have 11pc of NSW’s homeless population on the North Coast – that’s the third-highest in the State,” she said.

However, Ms Clegg said the new North Coast Regional Homelessness Action Plan would reform the service system and develop ‘long-term housing solutions’.

THE HIGH PRICE OF RENTING A HOME

Lismore – $295 a week

Ballina – $360 a week

Byron Bay – $420 a week

Richmond Valley – $270 a week

Kyogle – $235 a week

(Source: Housing NSW figures for the March 2010 quarter; prices are for a three-bedroom property)



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