This report is an assessment of the progress of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments towards the six outcomes in the National Affordable Housing Agreement. The agreement is a framework for improving outcomes across the board—for renters and home buyers, for those receiving housing assistance and for those who are not, and for those who have access to housing and those who are excluded.
The National Affordable Housing Agreement, and the baseline performance information presented in this report, reflect two clear themes.
First, through the agreement, governments have taken a broad approach to improving outcomes across the whole housing sector—for renters and home buyers, for those receiving housing assistance and those who are not, and for those who have access to housing and those who are excluded. As data collections are improved and performance indicators refined, this approach should inform Australians about the interconnected nature of the different parts of the housing sector, and how government performance in one area flows through to outcomes in other areas.
The common thread running through the different aspects of the agreement is that housing affordability is to be addressed not just through the traditional forms of housing assistance, but by improving the operation and effectiveness of the mainstream markets for renters and home buyers. The agreement therefore includes important, whole-of-market indicators of housing affordability, and the baseline results are of some concern to the council. For example, in no jurisdiction were more than 40.6 per cent of home sales affordable to households with moderate incomes, while, nationally, more than one in three low-income renter households were in rental stress.
The second theme that arises from the agreement is that governments have specifically committed to improved housing outcomes for two target groups:
• People facing homelessness—by definition, people facing homelessness do not have, or are at risk of losing, housing considered acceptable to the community. The baseline performance information in this report shows that across jurisdictions, homelessness rates are higher for young people, Indigenous people and those in remote areas.
• Indigenous Australians—Indigenous people face greater challenges accessing mainstream housing, as well as specific problems, such as overcrowding and poor quality housing, endemic to Indigenous communities. At present, the clear conclusion is that, across all jurisdictions and indicators (other than the incidence of rental stress), the results for Indigenous households are consistently poorer than for non-Indigenous households.