Low-income earners are finding it almost impossible to rent a house in Perth, with figures showing the median rent may be as high as $520 a week, according to a leading charity.
In a survey of 4282 rental properties this month, Anglicare WA found less than one per cent of Perth's rentals were affordable for someone on Newstart or a pension.
The Anglicare report, to be published today, shows less than 5 per cent of Perth rentals are accessible to people earning the minimum wage.
"We know families who are spending 40, 50, 60 per cent of their income on rent because they want to hang on to the property they're in and the landlord has jacked their rent up by $20, $30, $40 per week," Anglicare chief executive Ian Carter said.
"They've got the kids in the primary school nearby, they've got some good neighbours, good support systems and they'll go begrudgingly, 'yeah, we'll have to hang on to it' and more of their income is taken up with housing costs."
Housing affordability is defined as spending less than 30 per cent of a household income on rent or mortgage repayments. Anything over that is classed as housing stress.
Anglicare found the median rent across Perth properties surveyed was $520, compared with the latest Real Estate Institute of WA figure of $470 for the March quarter.
The Anglicare report, now in its third year, also revealed a significant decrease in affordable housing for working families.
Last year, couples on the minimum wage were able to afford 7.8 per cent of rentals on the market suitable for families. This year it is down to 2.6 per cent.
"It practically means that choice goes," Mr Carter said.
"It means people who used to say to the kids 'let's go to the movies this Saturday', they won't go to a movie because they can't afford it and when the kids want something special at the shop, they don't buy it, and when it comes to Christmas there's virtually nothing they can afford."
He said public housing should comprise 6 per cent of the Perth rental market but it made up only about 4.2 per cent. Acton Central real estate representative Fay Richards said there were bidding wars for properties around $500 or under. "It's been that way for a couple of years, since the boom," she said.
Apprentice mechanic Max Bradshaw, 22, who was inspecting a Bentley property yesterday, said he was looking at paying about 40 per cent of his income on rent.
"Even just a one-bedroom for myself, which is what I wanted, the smallest one starts at $300 a week, which is over half my wage, it's out of my price range," he said.