JobKeeper and JobSeeker: 1.3 million Aussies could lose their home if support stops

By Olivia Gee ·

Mozo research shows that more than a quarter of workers currently relying on JobKeeper and JobSeeker won’t be able to afford their rent or home loan repayments if the government support ceases. 

This amounts to approximately 1.3 million Australians potentially unable to keep a roof over their heads.

This analysis comes after the government announced changes to Covid-19 support payments on Tuesday. While JobKeeper and JobSeeker have been extended beyond the planned September end date, both will see a reduction in the coming financial quarter, and eligibility criteria will change for the Coronavirus supplement.

Around 3.5 million workers are receiving JobKeeker payments and 1.6 million are relying on JobSeeker. This means approximately 42% of Australia’s 12.1 million-person workforce is being supported via these government schemes.

Mozo’s data showed the vast majority of these people (92%) require this support to remain financially stable. In addition to the worrying housing situation, a third of surveyed income support recipients said they would not be able to afford to pay their bills if the payments stopped, with a fifth also unable to cover the cost of groceries.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), unemployment has reached a 22-year high of 7.4%, with 992,000 people recorded as officially out of work. 

“With the jobs market on life support, JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments are critical in ensuring people can remain in their homes and have enough money to cover necessary expenses,” Mozo Director Kirsty Lamont said.

Housing lifelines: Plummeting rents and mortgage holidays

A joint ANZ-CoreLogic report has recorded drops in rental prices as high as 7% within inner city Sydney and Melbourne. It attributes these reductions to the sharp increase in advertised rental properties in these suburbs (more than a 50% jump between March and June), as typical city tenants have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

Lower rent could provide some relief for struggling tenants, who might consider moving to a cheaper property or negotiating their lease. Lamont encourages renters experiencing financial hardship to get in touch with their landlords, and for hard-hit homeowners to talk to their lenders.

“If you have a mortgage and have taken a holiday, some banks have announced they’ll offer extensions that can buy you a little extra time to get back on your financial feet,” Lamont said.

Those considering a home loan repayment holiday should keep the long-term costs of this move in mind, and consider all other available options.

If you’re in a financial position to do so, look into refinancing your home loan for a better deal and check out some of the options below.

Refinance home loans - last updated January 23, 2021

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