Housing under stress

More than a third of rental households in the Mountains are experiencing stress in trying to keep up payments, according to the latest figures.

A report by Wentworth Community Housing and Western Sydney Community Forum looked at housing affordability and homelessness across a wide area of western Sydney, the Mountains and Hawkesbury.

It showed that 36.4 per cent of Mountains renters were in trouble, up 3.4 per cent over the five-year study period (2011-2016). These are housholds with the lowest 40 per cent of incomes paying more than 30 per cent of their usual gross weekly income on rent.

Rents had increased by 27 per cent over the five years while household income had only increased by 15.9 per cent, the report found.

Nearly one in 10 (9.6 per cent) were in housing stress in 2016 (spending more than 30 per cent of household income on rent or mortgage payments). This was down by 5.9 per cent since 2011, or a decline of 117 households.

There was also a major shortage of affordable and social housing, which is likely to only get worse in the next 20 years.

The report found that in 2016, the Mountains had 893 affordable/social dwellings but actually needed another 2,200 to meet demand.

And the pressures will increase, with an estimated need for 3,750 affordable/social homes by 2036.

Homelessness actually improved over the five-year period, but there were still an estimated 170 people without homes in 2016.

This was a decline from the 238 who were living rough in 2011.

Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman, said the results reflected failures by successive coalition governments on affordable and social housing.

"This report is a damning indictment on the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government's housing record in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and western Sydney," Ms Templeman said.

"All Australians have the right to secure, affordable and appropriate housing, and Labor is the only party that understands the need for tax reform and federal investment to increase affordable housing stock."

Labor's housing and homelessness spokesman, NSW Senator Doug Cameron, said the Liberals only housing priority was to preserve the world's most generous tax concessions for wealthy investors buying their fifth, sixth and seventh property

"The Liberals are only concerned with looking after their wealthy developer mates and this comes at the expense of renters, first-home buyers and vulnerable Australians in need," Senator Cameron said.

Liberal candidate, Sarah Richards, did not respond to a request for comment.