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Housing driven inflation shows rent freeze urgently needed

Today’s inflation data shows that rent increases are making life less affordable for everyone, providing further evidence for a freeze and ongoing caps.

The data, released by the Reserve Bank, shows that across Australia, rents have increased by 6.7% over the past year, and by 2.5% over the last quarter alone, the largest quarterly increase since 1988. 

Over the past two quarters, the pace of rent increases has been accelerating - and rents are now outpacing CPI. 

With increasing rents a key driving factor behind inflation, the Greens say today’s figures will also put pressure on the Reserve Bank to further increase interest rates, which will spiral into even further rent increases. 

Greens Housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather has repeated calls for the Federal Government to take action on the housing crisis, including:

  1. Providing $1bn in funding to encourage states to implement a two-year rent freeze, with caps on rent increases afterwards, and;
  2. As today’s rent-driven CPI figures leave open the door to a further interest rate rise, to use their existing powers under the RBA Act to freeze interest rates, preventing the flow-on harms that come from rate increases.

Lines attributable to Max Chandler-Mather, Australian Greens Housing spokesperson:

“If you’re under 35, rents are rising the fastest they have in your entire life. Today’s shocking rent data shows the Prime Minister must urgently accelerate the National Cabinet process and coordinate an agreement on a national 2 year freeze and ongoing cap on rent increases as soon as possible,” Mr Chandler-Mather said. 

With rents surging ahead of CPI, it’s clear that unless the Federal Government caps rents then it will take much longer to get inflation under control, which means more rate rises. 

“Rents are driving up the cost of living for everyone. Whether you’re a renter, homeowner, have a small business or are just getting hit by the rising cost of living, surging rents mean you’re paying more for daily essentials.

“This 6.7% rise isn’t just a number. 6.7% means thousands of renters will be pushed closer to breaking point - forced to choose between putting food on the table, keeping the lights on, and paying their rent. 

“This huge rise won’t surprise anyone who’s trying to stand out among hundreds of applications for the few rentals they can afford, or who’s just been told by their real estate agent that yet another rent rise is on the way.

“This leaves renters getting hit twice - first by the housing crisis, and then by the cost of living crisis fuelled by their rising rents.

With Australia’s two largest states now considering limits on rent increases, now is the time for the Prime Minister to act, put money on the table at National Cabinet and push for a national freeze and cap on rent increases.”

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