NCOSS-commissioned research reveals 80 per cent spike in financial stress for NSW mortgage holders – ABC News

NCOSS-commissioned research reveals 80 per cent spike in financial stress for NSW mortgage holders - ABC News

Home ownership was once a marker of financial security, but mortgage holders in NSW are among those who have experienced the greatest increase in poverty in the state.  

Research by the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), commissioned by the NSW Council of Social Services, has analysed 2021 Census data to examine the extent of poverty throughout the state.

The research found the number of mortgage holders in extreme financial stress had risen by 80 per cent since the last Census in 2016, and most of those affected were outside Sydney.

“We’ve absolutely seen in regional areas that people paying off a mortgage have seen a significant spike when it comes to living in poverty,” NCOSS chief executive Joanna Quilty said.

“It’s a pretty desperate situation out there.”

NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty says the poverty rate in regional NSW is higher than Greater Sydney.()

NCOSS has calculated the poverty line based on half of median household income, which can range from $489 per week for a single person to $1,027 per week for a couple with two children.

Housing crisis a factor

The research found housing shortages were a key driver of poverty in regional areas, with a growing number of renters and home owners on mortgages struggling to make ends meet.

The report found 59 per cent of mortgage-holders in NSW’s far west were living in poverty — the highest in the state.

In the mountain town of Dorrigo an hour west of Coffs Harbour, the rates of poverty for those with a home loan more than tripled from 6.9 per cent to 25.5 per cent.

John and Lorrell Woolhouse say a growing number of Dorrigo residents are sourcing cheaper essentials at their op shop.()

Resident Lorrell Woolhouse is seeing the financial strain first-hand at the op shop she runs in the town centre as a growing number of locals source cheaper essentials.

Ms Woolhouse said she and her husband had arranged for volunteers to drop food out to those living in surrounding rural villages because of the growing need.

“With the fuel going up so high, some people can’t leave their houses, or they can’t get their cars fixed or register their cars and so they’re stuck,” Ms Woodhouse said.

The poverty rates for those with mortgage in the Shellharbour-Oaks Flats area has almost quadrupled since 2016 from 3.1 per cent to 12.2 per cent.

More than 20 per cent of mortgage-holders are living in poverty throughout northern NSW, including Mullumbimby, Kyogle and Bellingen and Taree.

NCOSS has called on the NSW government to commit to a series of measures, including bolstering the supply of social housing to make up 10 per cent of housing stock and establishing a rental commissioner to help make rentals more affordable and secure.

Ms Quilty and NCOSS hs also called on the state government to advocate for an increase to income support payments such as JobSeeker and Youth Allowance in the upcoming federal budget.

Poverty rates for mortgage holders in Dorrigo have tripled between 2016 and 2021.()

A spokesperson for Premier Chris Minns said the state government was committed to supporting people out of poverty.

“Housing is a key priority for the NSW Government, including measures to make renting more affordable and increase social housing infrastructure.

“The NSW government have committed to introducing a mandatory requirement for 30 per cent of all homes build on surplus government land be set aside for social, affordable and universal housing.

Ms Quilty warned that the cost of inaction by the NSW Government would have dire consequences.

“There is a cost involved, but not acting is also a significant cost that we as a society will all bear,” she said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *