Why Rocky tenants are vulnerable to suffer rent pressure
ROCKHAMPTON renters are among the most vulnerable in the state with new research revealing tenants are at high risk of rent stress.
The region's rental vulnerability was detailed in a new study by the University of New South Wales, showing more than 30 per cent of Rocky tenants were under pressure from their rentals.
Neighbouring regions showed lower stress results with Mackay recording 25 per cent and Gladstone at just 19 per cent.
Social and economic strains on residents were reported to be affecting Rocky renters who were mostly young people.
More than 19 per cent of renters were between 15 and 24-years-old and over 65s made up 7.2 per cent.
Despite the lower number, data showed over the last five years the proportion of older renters had increased yet the age group struggled the most with their rental payments.
Tenants Queensland CEO Penny Carr said some of the movement in data highlighted that regional and remote parts of Queensland continue to indicate areas of highest rental vulnerability.
"This index is a timely reminder at the beginning of a new year that the elderly and low-income families in regional areas are struggling to pay their rent," said Ms Carr who runs Queensland's peak statewide tenant advisory service.
Median rent for Rockhampton and Gracemere sits at $260 per week with around 75 per cent of average income earners being able to afford these prices.
Despite the close proximity, zero houses in Glendale were affordable to average Rocky residents who would have to pay around $460 per week for a home in the area.
For both Gracemere and Rockhampton, 15.8 per cent of tenants were unemployed.
Ms Carr said this data showed the pressing need for more service in regional areas.
"These places have high rates of unemployment, disability, low education and older people in rental housing.
"They also have high incidence of rental stress - even though median rents are low compared to Brisbane."
Across the board, low education is the most common indicator of rental vulnerability for those tenants facing rent stress in the regions and in the worst cases, at risk of homelessness.
University of New South Wales City Futures Research Centre Chief Investigator Dr Laurence Troy said there was a large body of research on the 'suburbanisation of disadvantage'.
"This is the phenomenon of high housing costs pushing out and shutting out, low-income and otherwise disadvantaged households from city centres," said Dr Troy.
"The RVI indicates that in Queensland this process is extending into a 'regionalisation of disadvantage'.
"We need to build up the economic and social capital of these places - so that they offer greater opportunities for the vulnerable households who are concentrated there - just as we need policies to increase affordable housing opportunities in our cities and regions."