Rent costs pinching in Tamworth

PRICE PRESSURE:  New figures have suggested renting in Tamworth is ‘moderately unaffordable’.
PRICE PRESSURE: New figures have suggested renting in Tamworth is ‘moderately unaffordable’.

RENTAL affordability in Tamworth is “moderately unaffordable” as households in the region feel the pinch of rising prices.

New figures from SGS Economics have found on average, low-income households in the Tamworth local government area are largely on the “critical threshold of housing stress”, paying about 30 per cent of their income on rent expenses.

On June 12, the average rental price for houses in Tamworth was $345.20 per week, showing a 4.3 per cent increase over three years, according to SQM Research.

The site listed the average price for units in Tamworth as $259.50, and also showed in 2011, the median price for a flat or unit was $176.

Asset manager for Burke and Smyth Real Estate Natalie Graham said, despite it being a typically slow part of the year, the market was “still quite active”.

“Early in the year, we usually get an influx of new workers, particularly though the hospital, so it’s super busy,” Ms Graham said.

“In winter it typically slows down.”

She said people looking to rent in Tamworth were generally first-time renters or small families looking for three bedrooms at about $300 a week.

Ms Graham said a number of tenants had been vacating in recent months, looking to buy or build, which she put down to low interest rates.

“I’ve heard a few people have said it’s not affordable, but I think it is at the moment,” she said.

“It is a slower time of year, but still quite active.”

Anglicare Northern Inland chief executive officer Larry Apthorpe said rental affordability was an issue in Tamworth, just like most towns.

Figures from the Anglicare Australia rental affordability snapshot in April found the Indigenous community, financially stressed and people experiencing mental health issues were the most affected groups in the region.

Mr Apthorpe said older women were another at-risk group facing pressures from rental stress and even homelessness.

“Older women could also be facing relationship breakdowns, loss of job and mental health issues,” Mr Apthorpe said.