A University of Adelaide study has revealed alarming data showing that more than one million Australians live in properties that are borderline slum housing.

“Sometimes in Australia we get a bit distracted by the value of the dwelling and how much money we are going to make, but we tend to forget 27% of the population live in rental dwellings,” University of Adelaide Associate Professor Emma Baker told Domain News.

Survey respondents who rated themselves as living in very poor or derelict houses rounded up to 100,000. According to the study, 19% of respondents who were renters lived in such dwellings, compared to just 3% of homeowners.

Younger people were more likely than the elderly to live in shabby dwellings, while tenants with low incomes and disabilities among those worst off.

Baker explained that the study was motivated by the urge to know how many Australians are residing in ill-conditioned dwellings, as poor housing is seen to have an impact on the general health of its residents.

She hoped that with this study on the quality of housing, there will be a more collective move to address the issue of substandard dwellings. For instance, setting minimum standards for landlords and renters is now being reviewed in Victoria. Public consultations are set later this year.

“Australian housing is a good housing market, but internationally we have some of the most unaffordable housing markets in the world, and that plays a big role in people not being able to afford the quality of dwelling they need,” said Baker.

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