HOUSING affordability is a burning issue for Australian voters - more important than border security, broadband and even education.
Exclusive analysis by The Advertiser has identified the hot spots for rental and mortgage stress by electorate.
And South Australians are feeling the pinch, with almost one in three renters in Labor's safe seat of Kingston in South Adelaide suffering housing stress.
According to new research by Auspoll, 84 per cent of Australians believe housing affordability is more important to them and their family than education (82%), border security (78%) and 'fast, affordable broadband' (68%).
The results are in stark contrast to the policies of both major federal political parties.
Six years ago, then-Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd used housing affordability to oust John Howard, claiming "housing affordability is the barbecue stopper right across Australia".
However, Rudd is yet to revisit national housing policy since his return to the Prime Ministership.
Tony Abbott has previously deferred to the states on housing, declaring earlier this year that,
"home ownership is part of the great Australian dream but that is essentially a state government matter."
Yet community groups decry the state of housing affordability and availability across the country.
"We have 500 community organisations saying (housing affordability) has reached crisis point, so it's a national issue," said Roland Manderson, Deputy Director of Anglicare.
Just one in eight people think Labor has a clear plan on housing affordability, and just one in six believe the same for the Coalition.
"People are angry and frustrated by the lack of affordable housing but surprisingly this anger has yet to be directed at our political leaders," said David Stolper, Senior Research Partner at Auspoll.
"This disconnect is puzzling given the options for the Federal Government to improve the situation by coordinating land supply and incentivising the development of new homes".
In South Australia, while Kingston has the highest proportion of rental stress, the seat of Adelaide is home to more than 6000 rental households suffering housing stress, according to data from the Public Health Information Development Unit based at Adelaide University.
Households in stress are defined as low income households - for single person households in South Australia, those with less than $551 pre-tax income per week - spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs, according to ABS 2011 Census data.
"In recent years house building has lagged behind the growth in the population. That's putting pressure on housing prices, particularly rents," said social demographer David Chalke.
For Mr Chalke, the dire housing situation is having a profound effect on the Australian way of life.
"The things that have gone up dramatically in price in the last 20 years are the things that we can't afford to do without like utilities and housing," he said.
"As a consequence, we feel that the cost of living is running out of control, that we are under pressures and that there is no light at the end of tunnel, which is also why consumer confidence is so low."
South Australia households with mortgages are also in housing stress.
The seat of Wakefield to the north of Adelaide leads the state in mortgage stress, with more than 2600 households with mortgages classified as being under housing stress.
"The level of homelessness and housing stress that we are seeing every day is something that is not worthy of a nation that considers itself to be progressive and fair," said Dr John Falzon, Chief Executive of St Vincent de Paul.
Across the state, more than 45,000 households are classified as being in rental stress, and almost 20,000 are in housing stress.
While mortgage holders face the very real prospect of losing their house, those in rental stress often end up on the street.
"The availability and the affordability of housing is the most pressing issue across community services in Australia," said Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, the Deputy CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service.
A recent study claimed that almost a fifth of first-home buyers are facing the prospect of losing their homes within months.