The findings

Renters are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are losing their incomes, and some are scared of being forced out of their homes.

Our Rental Affordability Snapshot shows that welfare increases have given many Australians badly needed relief – but that the private rental market is still failing people on the lowest incomes.

On our Snapshot weekend of 21 March 2020, there were 69,960 properties listed for rent across Australia. The results show that there was a chronic shortage of affordable rentals across Australia.

Regular Overview

We also looked at increases to government payments, announced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which didn’t come into effect until this week. It shows that welfare increases have given some people badly needed relief. But others are being left behind, or have seen almost no benefit.

Covid Overview

Breaking down the figures by household type, we found that even these aggregated numbers mask how bad the situation really is.

The Snapshot shows that a person who is out of work can afford less than 2% of rentals – and that’s with their payments doubled. Under the old rates, just 9 rentals (0%) across Australia would be affordable.


Single parents have seen a tiny increase. Most rental listings are well beyond their reach – a single person on the Parenting Payment can afford less than 2% of rentals, even after their rates were increased.

Single Parent

Age pensioners have been left out of the increases. A single person on the age pension can afford just 1% of rentals. Couples on the pension fare better – but not by much. They can afford just 3% of rentals.


People with disability have also been left behind by the changes. They are at the very bottom of the market, and can afford just 0.5% of rentals.


There is some good news. Couples with children are now better able to compete in the rental market, with Family Tax Benefits and other payments going up in the wake of the Coronavirus. A couple with two children earning the minimum wage will see a 10% increase in affordability. This will help lift thousands of children out of poverty.

Minimum Wage

To find out more about the results, download the full national report (3.95mb).

To find out more about how these households fare in each region of Australia, download our regional snapshots.

» Download all regional reports (7.6mb)
» ACT and Queanbeyan
» Northern Territory
NSW – Hunter Region, Newcastle and Central Coast
NSW – North Coast
NSW – Northern Inland
NSW – Riverina
NSW – Southeast
NSW – Sydney and the Illawarra
NSW – West
Queensland – Central
Queensland – North
Queensland – South
SA – Adelaide
SA – Limestone Coast, Murray Mallee and Riverland
SA – Willochra
Western Australia