It’s an issue tightening its grip on the Illawarra and increasingly leaving the dreams of first-home buyers – and those on low incomes looking for somewhere to live – out of reach.
Anglicare research, released on Thursday, revealed less than one per cent of Illawarra rental properties were affordable for families on supported incomes.
The Rental Affordability Snapshot also found there had been a 26 per cent reduction in affordable rental properties for households on the minimum wage.
The problem hasn’t been lost on the state’s politicians, with housing affordability mentioned (in various contexts) in the NSW Legislative Assembly on 11 of this year’s 15 sitting days to date.
On one of those occasions, the Illawarra’s parliamentary secretary Gareth Ward asked Treasurer Dominic Perrottet during question time how the government was “proactively taking steps to address housing in NSW”. In response, Mr Perrottet told Parliament Labor’s Treasury spokesman, and Keira MP, Ryan Park “owns not one, not two, but three properties”.
“The shadow Treasurer, who is a property tycoon, is running Labor's housing affordability agenda. I have also learnt that the member owns a property in Potts Point,” Mr Perrottet said.
“He summers in his southern estates and whinges in his Potts Point mansion.
“The member for Keira is nothing more than a landlord in union clothing.
“With ‘Potts Point Park’ this chamber has its own Mr Harbourside Mansion.”
So, where do our elected representatives sit on the property ownership ladder?
A Mercury analysis of Illawarra and South Coast MPs’ registers of interests (federal) and disclosure returns (state), has revealed most have more than one property to their name.
Mr Park tops the real estate list with his three properties – his family home in East Corrimal and two apartments, jointly-owned with his wife, in Wollongong and Potts Point.
Mr Ward also has ties to property in Potts Point – he recently started renting in the suburb. The Kiama MP’s home is at Meroo Meadow.
Former Wollongong MP Noreen Hay declared three parcels of real estate in her disclosure, including two investment properties in Wollongong and Dapto, while Member for Heathcote Lee Evans and South Coast MP Shelley Hancock each have two properties.
All the regions’ federal parliamentarians have two properties, namely a principal place of residence in the Illawarra and another in Canberra. However, Cunningham MP Sharon Bird’s declaration lists a Kanahooka rental property, a house owned by her spouse, alongside her Mangerton home.