REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: The dark side of the regional property boom

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

Clockwise from top left: Eric Woodham; Emily Batterham with her daughter; nine of Jennifer's kids: Holly, Emily, Felicity, Abbey, Hayley, Matthew, Ebony, Jaxon and Shelby; and NSW South Coast kids keep warm by a fire.

Clockwise from top left: Eric Woodham; Emily Batterham with her daughter; nine of Jennifer's kids: Holly, Emily, Felicity, Abbey, Hayley, Matthew, Ebony, Jaxon and Shelby; and NSW South Coast kids keep warm by a fire.

From living in cars to living in tents, it seems Australian families are being pushed to the brink as rural and regional rental markets skyrocket on the back of a wave of tree-changers jumping into the property market.

COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways, but one of the biggest impacts for those in country Australia is the change in the real estate market.

It seems without exception, housing demand and prices have boomed.

And while people are relishing the chance to live their country dream with bosses suddenly more relaxed about remote working, it is taking a toll on those in the rental market in rural and regional towns.

On the southwest coast of Western Australia, one mother of 10 children is fearing her family will have to live in her car as they struggle to find a place to rent.

Prices in the area have skyrocketed, with the suburb of Coodanup seeing the second-largest growth of anywhere in WA.

Rebecca told the Mandurah Mail landlords were concerned over the size of her family and her ability to pay rent, but with her current lease expiring she's running out of options.

"I have no family or friends over here. My children and I will be living in a car if we can't find a place," she said.

Rebecca has reached out to a number of crisis services, however, none have yet been able to find her a place to stay.

The story isn't much different on NSW's South Coast where a mother of six children has been homeless since mid-February and is now living in a tent with her family.

Subscribers of the Bega District News can read Kate's story here.

Again, housing prices in the area have jumped at rates higher than those seen in the capital cities recently.

In Bendigo in central Victoria median rental prices across the district are rising, with two shires, Mount Alexander and Mount Macedon, now having the unenviable title of the lowest proportion of affordable housing in the state.

It's left renters struggling to find places, like mother Emily Batterham who's been applying for homes for three months, but has been turned down each time.

Further north in NSW's Riverina and Wagga Wagga residents are being left "terrified" as they face homeless in a tight rental market.

Subscribers to The Daily Advertiser can read more here.

Single mum Cassia Ware has even applied for social housing but joins about 400 people already on the waiting list in Wagga where demand has gone up 30 per cent in the past 12 months.

Ideas like this Sleepbus have popped up, but there is also anger as news of 400 empty public housing properties in Canberra hit the news.

And so the calls, the need, for this increasing and spreading crisis to be looked into and solutions put forward have begun.

We can only hope the actions move faster than the debate.

In case you are interested in filtering all the latest down to just one late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?

More stuff happening around Australia ...