Gympie renters are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, which is pushing the region into a high risk of housing stress.
Gympie renters are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, which is pushing the region into a high risk of housing stress. Lisa Machin

Housing stress climbs as Gympie's average income stalls

THE Gympie region has been named in a new report as one of only a handful of Queensland areas at high risk of housing stress for renters.

Released by not-for-profit group Compass Housing, the Affordable Housing Income Gap Report reveals the region's renters are spending more than 30 per cent of their weekly pay packet on rent.

While the region's rents were low at $285 per week, its comparatively low income ($888) put tenants under pressure.

Overall, Gympie renters fall $62 per week short of the $950 threshold they needed to meet to avoid housing stress.

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Gympie was one of only five regional centres in the state to make the list, joined by Noosa, Hervey Bay, and the Sunshine and Gold coasts.

Community Action housing services manager Michelle Hine said the results were not surprising.

Community Action Gympie manager Michelle Hine.
Michelle Hine. Renee Albrecht

"Anecdotally what our clients tell us is its more competitive at the lower end of the market,” she said.

Ms Hine said people pushed out of metropolitan prices like the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane were attracted by the region's low rents.

"They naturally gravitate to our area because the rents are lower.

"Owners then realise they can charge more and then put their rents up,” she said.

This in turn increased the likelihood of people becoming homeless which only put more stress on them and their families, she said.

POSITIVE SIGN: The tightening of rental vacanices on the Fraser Coast shows the market is strengthening.
TIGHT MARKET: A competitive low-end rental market is increasing housing stress in Gympie. Contirbuted

Compass spokesperson Martin Kennedy said the findings proved housing stress isn't just a problem for low-income households.

"Even working people are struggling to afford suitable rental properties,” Mr Kennedy said.

"This can have a real impact on living standards because people in housing stress are less able to pay for other essentials like food, utilities, insurance, healthcare, childcare and debt repayments.

"The steady decline of housing affordability for renters is part of a broader housing crisis driven by a combination of low interest rates, preferential tax treatment for investors, rapid population growth, artificial rationing of land supply, high transfer duties and a prolonged failure to invest in social and affordable housing.”