Cheap private rentals drive down public housing wait time | Ralph Lauren

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Western Australians are enjoying a greater mix of affordable housing according to the State Government, with the availability of private rental accommodation increasing last financial year.

Findings in the Housing Authority Annual Report 2019-2020 showed the rise in private rentals, government initiatives and assistance measures such as the Assisted Rental Pathways Pilot has stimulated cheaper and more diverse housing.

The swirling activity at the more affordable end of the market has caused the average wait time for public housing to trend downward in recent years, with 2019-20 proving no different.

“In 2019-20, the average waiting time for accommodation was 22 per cent lower than the target and one per cent lower than the previous year, and the median waiting time was 20 per cent lower than the target,” the report stated.

“Throughout most of 2019-20, the availability of private rental housing and more affordable housing options had a positive impact on performance.”

Meanwhile, the ratio of total housing assistance provided relative to the public rental waiting list was seven per cent lower than both the 2019-20 target and the previous financial year.

The state attributed the figure to an 11 per cent reduction in approved bond assistance loans compared to the 2019-20 target and a 15 per cent dip compared to the year prior.

The loans, which help people pay for housing, were said to be in decline because more residents could afford private rentals and other options.

COVID-19 was also said to have an impact, with the pandemic causing an additional drop in loan approvals and a 21 per cent fall in land sales across development projects when compared to the 2019-20 target.

While the affordable housing improvement and the tumble of wait times is a welcome outcome for budget-conscious homebuyers, taxpayer pockets were plundered by increased operating costs.

The average cost of running a public rental property was higher than the 2019-20 target largely due to a greater spend on maintenance, which culminated in more than 19,000 job orders per month and a $212.9 million price tag.

The Housing Authority blamed the blowout on tenant demand for day-to-day maintenance and unrecoverable debts due to the economic fallout from COVID-19.

Also too expensive was the average operating cost of loan accounts, which was again attributed to pandemic-related credit loss.

To learn more about state-subsidised affordable housing options, visit

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