This paper uses census data for 1986 and 1996 to estimate the shortage of low cost private rental stock in Australia. During this period there was a 34 per cent increase in the number of households in private rental, with a disproportionate growth in households with either low or high incomes. At the same time, however, the private rental stock affordable for these households declined significantly. This combination of increased need and decreased supply has resulted in an overall shortage of low cost stock. This shortage is exacerbated by a ‘misallocation’ of existing low cost stock, arising from its use by high income households.
Key words: Australian housing policy, private rental housing, housing supply, low cost housing