The Graph That Proves Why You're Screwed If You're Renting In Sydney

Want To Rent AND Have A Life? Forget It!

The Graph That Proves Why You're Screwed If You're Renting In Sydney

Source: SGS Economics and Planning, 2017

Renting in Sydney has reached a new low...

Paying rent in the Harbour City has never been tougher, with affordability the worst it's ever been.

This is especially bad news if you want to try and avoid the daily grind of bumper-to-bumper traffic by living close to Sydney's CBD.

Rent levels have been labelled "Severely Unaffordable" within a 10 kilometre radius of the city, where people on the average income of $90,000 would have to pay as much as 60 per cent of their total income as rent in some suburbs.


The stats from the latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) show the average tenant is also struggling, spending 29 per cent of their total household income just paying Sydney’s median rent of $500 dollars per week.

Ellen Witte from SGS Economics & Planning says that's very close to the affordability threshold of 30 per cent, otherwise known as "Rental Stress".

"What we see is that when households start paying 30 per cent of their income or more on rent, it takes away their ability to pay for other primary needs such as food, heat, cooling, transport, education and other services.

It really starts to impact on the livability of households and of course creates a lot of mental stress," said Ms Witte.

"We used to think that would just affect the lowest income households, but it's now affecting higher income households as well, especially in Sydney."

The least affordable postcode in Greater Sydney is 2011. Not surprisingly it's in the Eastern Suburbs and includes Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Potts Point and Woolloomooloo, where a tenant on that average household income would have to fork out a whopping 86% of their income in rent.

"Basically what that shows is that average income households, for them, there's no place in those suburbs," said Ms Witte.

"The average workers are now are being pushed out to the fringes of the city to areas that are affordable, but what we see is that areas that are affordable have very poor access to transport, jobs, services and education"

"So it's creating a real spatial divide in the metropolitan area between those who are well off and those who actually have quite good incomes, but are not well off anymore".

And if you've thought of a sea change or a tree change, rent in the rest of NSW isn't much cheaper.

Regional NSW remains the least affordable of the states in Australia, with people still paying 28 per cent of their household income on rent. That's officially considered "Moderately Unaffordable".

So where can you rent in Sydney without breaking the bank?

There are still a few affordable suburbs (demonstrated in the green areas of the map) including Penrith, Ingleburn and Liverpool.

However Ms Witte says living further out presents other challenges. "Those affordable suburbs are quite far out from the city so you may find an affordable house there but then how do you get to work?"

"You may have a more affordable place to live, but you need to commute further, and it costs more and it takes more time."

"That then impacts the children as well, because they'll be in after-school care and childcare for very long times each day, so it's affecting a lot of aspects of everyday family life."