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National Shelter, Community Sector Banking, Brotherhood St Laurence and SGS have released the Rental Affordability Index (RAI) on a biannual basis since 2015. A price index for rental housing markets, the RAI is an easy to understand indicator of rental affordability relative to household incomes. It is applied to geographic areas across Australia.
It is generally accepted that if housing costs exceed 30% of a low income household’s (households with the lowest 40% of income) gross income, then that household is experiencing housing stress (30/40 rule). In the RAI, households who are paying 30% of income on rent have a score of 100, indicating that these households are at the critical threshold for housing stress. A score of 100 or less indicates that households would pay more than 30% of income to access a rental dwelling, meaning they are at risk of experiencing housing stress.