NEW rental data shows the Victorian regional housing crisis is intensifying, as most regional areas experience vacancy rates below one per cent.
The report from Everybody's Home, a housing solution campaign group, found in regional Victorian areas, rents had increased between six and 14 per cent, while vacancies dipped below one per cent.
In northern Victoria, the rental vacancy rate sits at 0.72 per cent, with only 291 currently vacant rental properties.
The average rental asking rate is $409 per week.
In northeast Victoria, the situation is even more dire, with a 0.47 per cent vacancy rate, only 189 vacant rental properties and an annual rent increase of almost 12 per cent.
Everybody's Home spokesperson Kate Colvin said as mortgage interest rates doubled many landlords would seek to pass the cost on to tenants.
"Renters are in for a seriously difficult time as landlords capitalise on historically low vacancy rates to shift the rising cost of interest rates on to their tenants," she said.
"While the Victorian state government has invested in social housing, we will only start to see significant change once we see a significant promise from the federal government as well."
According to figures from the just released 2021 census, there are 2.8 million rental households across the country, accounting for more than 30 per cent of the population.
There were also almost one million vacant homes on census night.
However, the government's housing policies are long term investments - and quick solutions to the country's housing crisis are hard to come by.
The federal government's housing policy focuses on a new home buying scheme, to make it cheaper and easier for Australians to own their own home, and a $10 billion future housing fund which is set to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing dwellings in it's first five years.
Earlier this week, the federal government also added 40,000 new places to its home guarantee scheme.
The former coalition government policy aimed to shorten the time needed to save a deposit for first home buyers by allowing them to avoid paying lenders mortgage insurance and pay only a fiver per cent house deposit.
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However, Ms Colvin said a decade of inaction from the coalition government had led to the "perfect storm" renters are currently experiencing.
"There are limited options for people who can't afford to buy but want to stay in their local community," she said.
"Just because you rent, doesn't mean you haven't established deep roots in a community.
"Renters on low and modest incomes work in the local shops and aged care services, they have kids in local schools, are members of sports clubs, and attend local churches - they deserve the same stability as everyone else.
"The bitter fruit of a decade of housing neglect is with us now and is being unfairly forced on low income renters. This problem will only get worse if we fail to act."
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