Sky-high rents add to job vacancies in major regions, research shows

The researchers found that on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, rents have risen 36% since March 2020. This has led to a 15 percentage point increase in the number of low-income households experiencing rent stress, to 39%.

During the same period, job openings across the region have soared 259 percent, from 1,415 to 3,678 positions.

In Geelong, Victoria, more than a quarter of low-income households are under rent stress after a 17 per cent rise in rents since the start of the pandemic. Vacancies in the area are up 133 percent to more than 3,400.

One of the worst affected areas has been Illawarra and the South Coast region of New South Wales. Rents there have increased nearly 42% since the arrival of COVID-19, bringing the proportion of low-income households with rental problems to 46%.

Vacancies there have increased by 113 percent, from 1,333 to 2,848.


The report estimates that the labor shortage is costing the Sunshine Coast $786 million a year in lost economic output. In Geelong, the annual cost is $760 million, while Illawarra and the south coast lose $642 million.

It is not just rent that has skyrocketed in regional areas.

CoreLogic data shows that at the beginning of the year, the annual value of homes in Illawarra was growing at more than 30 percent. Although they have slowed since then, the median home value in the region is still above $1 million.

Home values ​​along the Sunshine Coast achieved an annual growth rate of nearly 36 percent, with a median value of $1.1 million. Geelong’s value increase reached more than 22 percent, with a median value of $838,000.


Kate Colvin, a spokeswoman for the “Everybody’s Home” campaign, said the regional areas were already facing a social crisis due to their chronic lack of affordable housing. Now they faced an economic crisis.

“The inability to find a rental and eye-popping rent increases for the few available spots are deterring people from taking jobs in regional communities,” he said.

“Employers constantly tell us that prospective employees tell them they can’t move to the community if they can’t find a place to live. Our completely unbalanced housing system is stifling the economic potential of the Australian region.”

Colvin said the link between employment and housing should be at the top of next week’s summit, arguing that an increase in affordable and social housing would give people with modest incomes a chance to move into new jobs.

The two-day jobs summit, which will feature 100 people from business, unions and the non-government sector, starts on September 1.

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