Close to home: Australia’s homelessness crisis

Property affordability has the greatest correlation with homelessness, with our current housing market reflecting this.

Life on the streets is a frightening reality for 105,237 Australians, with Australia found to have the fourth highest percentage of homeless people as a proportion of total population, according to research by comparison website

An analysis of homelessness rates in 31 countries, from data sources that included UNICEF, The World Bank and The Human development Index 2014, revealed that, at 0.45 percent, Australia has a higher percentage of homeless population than many developed countries including the United Kingdom, United States, France, Denmark and Hong Kong.

Only Germany, New Zealand and Canada were found to have a higher percentage of homeless population than Australia.

In Germany, 1.08 percent of the population is estimated to be homeless, followed by 0.73 percent of the New Zealand population, and 0.66 percent of the Canadian population.

The research also found that Australia’s property affordability has the greatest correlation with homelessness, with Australia ranked the seventh most expensive country in terms of rental prices (indexed), and Australia’s Consumer Price index (CPI) placing it as the fourth most expensive country to live in out of the 31 countries.

Furthermore, a state by state analysis across Australia revealed that homelessness is rampant throughout the country, with the Northern Territory found to have the highest incidence of homelessness by state.

In fact, NT has 12-times more homeless people than the national average, with a staggering 6.53 percent of its population.

It’s followed by the Australian Capital Territory (0.47 percent). Tasmania was the state with the lowest incidence of homelessness (0.31 percent).

state by stateSource:, Homelessness Australia, ranked by highest proportion

 State by state analysis:

  • Victoria: VIC held the highest proportion of homeless people in the 19 to 44 year-old age bracket (51%)
  • New South Wales: More homeless people in NSW than other states (28,191), and the highest proportion of over 45 year-olds homeless than any other state (30%), and retirement age (7%)
  • Tasmania: The lowest incidence of homelessness by state (0.31% of population)
  • Western Australia: The highest proportion of people where financial difficulty is the major reason for homelessness (28%)
  • Northern Territory: The highest incidence of homelessness by state (6.53% of its population) and the highest rate of cause of homelessness associated with domestic violence and relationship issues (44%)
  • South Australia: The top reason for homelessness is accommodation issues (42%)
  • ACT: Second-highest incidence of homelessness by state (0.47% of population)

Fred Schebesta, co-founder and director of, said these alarming statistics contributed to his decision to sign up for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout on Thursday June 18, 2015, to tackle homelessness in Australia.

“A couple of years ago, the team and I slept out on George Street for four days in anticipation of the iPhone 5 launch.
house price drop

This gave me a personal taste of what it’s really like for the 105,000 Aussies, including 28,000 kids, who are homeless right now: rough, cold, dangerous, noisy and intense,” said Mr Schebesta. “But I’ll gladly do it again to raise money for those in need of somewhere warm and safe to sleep.

“Interestingly, both property affordability and homelessness in Australia are contentious issues for many Australians.

While property prices may be out of our control, homelessness is one of the causes we can collectively make a difference to.

It’s a confronting reality but that just reiterates the need to stand up and do something about homelessness in Australia.

I hope you, too, will get behind the cause and help make a real difference to the lives of these people.” will be raising funds for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout – Find out more here

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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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