First home buyers in the south-west need an average of 9.5 years to save a deposit, a new report reveals.
The ANZ Core Logic Housing Affordability Report gives the city a rating of 7 with regards to housing affordability.
The report takes into account median house prices and average household incomes.
The city's rating higher than regional areas such as Bendigo (6.7), Colac (6.8), Shepparton (4.9) and Wangaratta (6).
However, the city's affordability is lower than Ballarat (7.2), the Surf Coast (11.3) and Melbourne City (7.6).
The high demand for properties in the south-west is also making it difficult for people to obtain rental properties.
A number of people have expressed their concerns about the prospect of becoming homeless because they have been asked to move out of their rentals as owners decide to sell.
A Warrnambool woman, who asked not to be named, said she and her partner had a budget of $380.
She said they had applied for more than 100 properties but had not been successful.
The couple had to move out of their rental this week and was facing the prospect of being homeless.
"We were originally going to be camping in the free camping grounds but this morning we were offered my partner's friend's spare room for a little while," she said.
The woman said her partner worked in Warrnambool and she was studying so moving to another place would be a last resort.
She said she knew of many other people facing similar predicaments.
"One of my best friends with an infant just went through the same thing," the woman said.
"She luckily found a house though."
The report revealed nationally housing values rose by 21.6 per cent in the 12 months ending October 2021, while rentals increased by 9.2 per cent.
"Dwelling values across regional Victoria have seen a period of strong value appreciation through the year to June 2021, increasing 15.9 per cent," the report said.
"Values rose a further 5.9 per cent in the four months to October."
Freeing up land for entry-level housing blocks will be a priority for Moyne Shire in 2021.
Mayor Ian Smith said there was a high number of businesses experiencing staff shortages.
"Staff shortages was an issue across the shire before COVID was thrown into the mix," Cr Smith said.
He said he was concerned a number of businesses were being forced to reduce operating hours due to a lack of staff.
"There are a lot of businesses in Port Fairy that can't open for their full trading hours," Cr Smith.
"All of the food places you go to say they're struggling to get staff."
Cr Smith said he believed the lack of affordable housing in the shire was contributing to the staff shortages.
He said entry-level blocks in towns including Port Fairy and Mortlake were desperately needed.
"We've got to get entry level housing so that couples can move into the towns," Cr Smith said.
In addition to that, a lack of social housing in Mortlake was resulting in some people moving elsewhere, he said.
"I've heard that some families have moved to other towns where they can get a commission house," Cr Smith said.
He also urged residents and visitors alike to ensure they were polite to staff at retail outlets.
Cr Ian Smith said it was disappointing to hear some staff members had been subjected to abuse from customers.
"We just have to respect the staff in these businesses," he said.
"It's not the staff who are making the rules."
An online search reveals the cheapest house on the market in Port Fairy is a two-bedroom home with a price range of $470,000 to $510,000,while there is one two-bedroom rental listed for $520 a week.
One rental in Mortlake is listed for $400 a week.
The affordability report painted an interesting picture.
"A low interest environment, coupled with a surge in migration from Melbourne in response to COVID-19 restrictions, has meant good news for property owners across the regions," the report said.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said the issue of access to affordable housing in the south-west had not happened overnight.
"We have faced a housing crisis for years," Ms Britnell said.
"The number of people contacting my office trying to access accommodation and their stories of desperation at either being homeless or facing homelessness are heartbreaking.
"We do everything we can to ensure those people gain access to support, but our social service organisations are overwhelmed."
She said the region was in desperate need of more social housing.
The state government announced $25m in 2020 for more public housing in Warrnambool, which it expects will create 48 more houses. The waiting list is about 900.
Lack of affordable housing is an issue in the Corangamite, Moyne and Colac Otway shires, according to Regional Development Australia (RDA).
The issues are discussed in the Barwon South West's RDA submission to the federal government's inquiry on housing affordabilty.
"This is affecting hospitality workers, farm workers, health and service sector workers and workers employed on the construction of wind farms," the submission said.
The submission said the issue was impacting the region's ability to attract and retain skilled professionals.
"The existing working population in the Great South Coast is static and in most places in decline, with the largest cohort of the workforce being between 50-54 years and in 10 years this cohort will be exiting," it said.
"Without intervention, these trends will become even further pronounced, and limit the region's ability to deliver on future industry needs and will constrain economic growth."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.