Susannah Boyd from Rochedale with twin daughters Zoe and Madison, 18 months. Picture: Lachie Millard
Susannah Boyd from Rochedale with twin daughters Zoe and Madison, 18 months. Picture: Lachie Millard

We're living in a stressed state

QUEENSLANDERS are struggling to meet ballooning mortgage and rental costs, reporting the second highest rates of housing stress behind Sydney.

New data released today has revealed that while 13 percent of Sydneysiders are experiencing housing stress Brisbanites follow closely behind on 10.5 per cent.

Even more surprising to author of the the Housing, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia report, Professor Roger Wilkins, was that other urban areas in Queensland showed 11.3 per cent of residents were spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs.

"What dumbfounded me was that other urban areas in Queensland were so high...it's at odds with the rest of the country," he said.

The report found more Australians are renting and many people are under increasing financial strain driven by soaring childcare and utility costs.

Despite this, reliance on welfare has fallen and women are becoming more educated, however they remain well behind men in the financial literacy stakes.

Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Mark Henley said he wasn't surprised by the findings.

"We know people in Queensland are struggling with the cost of living, with housing being one of the largest expenses contributing to this," he said.

"The HILDA report confirms recent data published by Anglicare and by National Shelter about the high levels of rental stress and lack of affordable rental properties in Queensland, especially urban areas."

Susannah Boyd from Rochedale with twin daughters Zoe and Madison, 18 months. Picture: Lachie Millard
Susannah Boyd from Rochedale with twin daughters Zoe and Madison, 18 months. Picture: Lachie Millard

Dealing with housing stress required all levels of governments to work together, Mr Henley said.

The HILDA report first began delving into the lives of more than 17,000 Australians in 2001 and has continued to monitor this segment of the population since then.

The University of Melbourne study conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research showed rising cost worries has resulted in financial stress being "quite high."

The report found median weekly expenditure on childcare has risen in 2002 and 2003 for children not yet at school from $71 for two-parent households to $154 in 2015 and 2016.

Utility costs are also hitting the hip pocket hard, mean household spending on power bills climbed from $1727 in 2006-08 to $2118 in the 2015-16.

Wages grew strongly from 2001 to 2009 but since then have experienced a drastic slowdown.

Rochedale mum of twin girls Susannah Boyd said housing and childcare costs ate up the majority of their household budget.

"We are worse off under the new childcare rebate...I work four days per week and was looking at going back to five days per week but now I have to work out if it's even worth it," she said

"Wages haven't really kept up with cost of living and I know a lot of people are having to adjust their lifestyle to make ends meet because things are tight."

Professor Wilkins said the report highlighted more people were enduring financial pressures and unable to buy property.

"Real incomes aren't growing but they are not shrinking either,'' he said.

"House prices have been the really big one where until very recently they have grown very strongly and this has resulted in the increase in the number of people renting."