The WA housing crisis is not just driving long-term residents out of their homes, but forcing some to sit out the wait for affordable rentals in cheaper overseas hotspots like Bali. Social media has revealed a steady stream of South West residents of Augusta-Margaret River desperate for rental homes as availability hit another all-time low this month. Housing availability in the region dropped 0.26 per cent in the most recent figures, returning the market to conditions 12 months ago. Real Estate Institute of WA president Joe White said the crisis was now starting to bite for financially stable people, who have the money to rent and never expected to find themselves facing housing stress. “It is what I would describe as a new pattern of homelessness amongst a group of people who would have never thought they could ever be in this position,” Mr White said. Among those undertaking self-imposed exile were a steady stream of regional residents unable to secure a rental while waiting for their own new homes to be built, he said. Margaret River woman Gabby del Pio told the Augusta Margaret River Times from Bali that it was her second time without a house, after a previous five-month stint in a caravan with her son. She was aware of others in Bali in a similar situation, and said being “houseless” was a more accurate description than “homeless”. “A lot of us are working professionals and have money, yet limited housing options leaves us with limited choices,” she said. “Being in Bali is our last shot at finding a home in the South West before making the call to move permanently by December. “Homeless has a very different meaning and I’m feeling for those who aren’t able to afford the ridiculous price increases.” Ms del Pio and other residents told the Times it was especially difficult when children had friends and school connections in the shire now at risk due to the lack of rentals. Just Home Margaret River program manager Alex Hughes said his group was busier than ever despite a lack of funding support for on-the-ground work. “Just Home see the current situation within the shire as unsustainable, and if continued, will significantly impact the overall wellbeing of our community,” he said. However, State and Federal agencies had failed to invest in much-needed social housing. Mr Hughes said Airbnbs were as big a factor as the region’s rampant real estate market. He said Just Home research showed up to 27 per cent of homes in the shire were empty due to the short-stay market. “A quick online search shows that there are 770 Airbnbs currently available for hire while there were only nine properties available for long-term rental – a ratio of 1 rental property available for every 85 Airbnbs,” he said. “Of the 10 properties available, only one was under $400 per week. This is not okay.” Mr White reiterated that new home builds were a big contributor to the scarcity in the housing market, both with people renting while they build, as well as new homes not keeping up with demand.