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Byron Bay the most unaffordable place to rent in Australia

Byron Bay, Mermaid Waters and Noosaville are the most unaffordable places to rent a property, according to new research.

According to Unaffordable Australia: The Surprising Income You Need to Rent Comfortably, a report from MCG Quantity Surveyors, shows the Queensland and NSW beachside hotspots all require tenants to spend about 60 per cent of their income on rent.

The research analyses the gap between current incomes in each suburb or town and what is needed to afford rent without financial strain.

MCG Quantity Surveyors Managing Director, Mike Mortlock, said the study emphasised just how tight things were for renters.

“Key findings demonstrate that in places like Byron Bay, Mermaid Waters and Noosaville, residents would need to substantially increase their income to afford rent at a rate that does not exceed 30 per cent of their income,” he said in the report’s executive summary.

“This gap not only places considerable stress on individuals and families but also has a detrimental effect on local economies. 

“When households are limited to spending on only essential needs, discretionary expenditure drops, affecting local businesses and economic growth.

 “This study reveals the harsh reality many Australians face—a reality where the dream of living in a prime location is increasingly out of reach due to the widening gap between wages and rental prices.”

The report showed that in Byron Bay, including the suburbs of Suffolk Park, Broken Head, Byron Bay, tenants used 60 per cent of income on paying rent, with $3805 a week needed to rent comfortably in the beachside town.

Yet the weekly income gap is $1901.77.

In Queensland’s Mermaid Waters, the income gap is $1808.41, with tenants spending 59 per cent of their income on rent and $3717 representing the figure they need to rent comfortably.

Similarly, in Noosaville, renters spent 62 per cent of their income on rent, with $3099 being the number they need to rent comfortably.

Instead they face an income gap of $1585.53.

National Top 10 suburbs with the biggest gap between current incomes and what is necessary to afford rent without financial strain. Source: MCG Quantity Surveyors

In total, there are six Queensland areas in the national Top 10, and four from NSW.

Other suburbs in Queensland include Runaway Bay, with an income gap of $1,522.06, Benowa ($1,369.04), Berleigh Waters ($1,277.23) and Hope Island ($1,226.26).

Other NSW suburbs include Matraville-Chiffley ($1,233.23), Banora Point ($1,177.48) and Kingscliff-Fingal Head ($1,173.39).

With an emphasis on the critical need for affordable housing solutions, Mr Mortlock burger policymakers and industry stakeholders to consider the report’s findings as a call to action. 

“We need innovative solutions to bridge this affordability gap,” he said.

“It’s imperative for the sustainability of our communities and the overall health of our economy.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.