The cost of rent in regional Victoria is said to have soared over the past three years ©Getty Images

Athlete accommodation at the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games should help fix an urgent need for social housing after the event, campaigners have argued.

Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) Victoria said that people in Games areas were paying "thousands of dollars" more per year in rent than they were three years ago.

Victoria 2026 is set to be the first "regional" edition of the Commonwealth Games with sport spread out across the Australian state.

Events will be held in Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland and Shepparton.

Analysis of postcodes due to host Athletes' Villages at the Games have found renters are paying between 21 and 42 per cent more for their homes, CHIA said.

"Rents have soared across Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Gippsland over the past three years," said CHIA Victoria's acting chief executive Jason Perdriau to the Gippsland Times.

"We can't allow the same thing to happen with no solutions over the next three years ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

"We also wait in anticipation on the next steps for the construction of the Athletes' Villages across regional Victoria. 

The Athletes' Village at Gold Coast 2018, the last occasion Australia hosted the Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
The Athletes' Village at Gold Coast 2018, the last occasion Australia hosted the Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

"We hope the Government will partner with community housing organisations to guarantee the accommodation is suitable and affordable for Victorians in housing need after the Games.

"The Commonwealth Games Athletes' Villages should be used to make an ambitious contribution to social housing in these regional areas that are becoming more unaffordable for more people.

"Repurposing the Villages into a mixed tenure model of social, affordable and market rentals, alongside shared equity and market sale homes, would provide hundreds of Victorians with a home, encourage further investment in these areas, and demonstrate the value of rolling out these kinds of developments across Victoria." 

Regional Cities Victoria this week released a masterplan called "The Winning Formula" on how it thinks the Commonwealth Games should be used for the good of the area.

It included a pledge for an increase in the amount of social and affordable housing.