Category Archives: Housing

Making Housing Affordable – Pearls and Irritations new series beginning 1 May 2017.

Next week Pearls and Irritations will post thirteen articles on the theme Making Housing Affordable. The series will focus on Australia’s housing affordability crisis. Articles will be posted daily over the week commencing Monday 1 May.   The series features … Continue reading

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VIVIENNE MILLIGAN and HAL PAWSON. Ready for growth? Has Australia’s affordable housing industry got what it takes?

Australia lacks any enumerated and resourced plan for expanding affordable housing. Recent growth opportunities in this industry have largely been small-scale, fragmented and ad hoc. As a result, providers have been highly constrained in their ability to predict and plan … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Sydney house prices – an increase of 18.9% in one year!

With only a month to go to the federal budget, the news that Sydney’s median dwelling prices rose by 18.9% in the 12 months to March is sobering. It is surely enough to jolt the Turnbull government into finally adopting … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Is it time to resurrect the Albury-Wodonga city plan?

The housing crisis, hitting young Australians in particular, is one of the cruelest consequences of economic rationalist policy making to which both our major political parties remain super-glued. Neither party has a clearly articulated, long-term solution to this ideologically generated … Continue reading

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IAN VERRENDER. Distribution of debt poses new trigger to the property, housing market

The trigger has been cocked. Our attitude to property has changed. No longer is it merely a castle, a family retreat and a place in which to find shelter. It’s now a highly geared investment vehicle.  It will take enormous … Continue reading

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BOB BIRRELL and DAVID McCLOSKEY. Sydney and Melbourne’s housing affordability crisis: no end in sight.

Our projections show that, on these demographic assumptions, new migrants will add about 64 per cent to the need for extra dwellings in Sydney over the decade 2012 to 2022 and 54 per cent in Melbourne.  

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Saul Eslake’s well timed warnings help inform the housing affordability debate

Saul Eslake, one of Australia’s most highly respected independent economists, has sounded some sobering warnings about the impact of declining rates of home ownership (and rising levels of mortgage debt) on Australia’s retirement income system. He has also once again … Continue reading

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JOHN DALEY and BRENDAN COATES. The latest ideas to use super to buy homes are still bad ideas.

Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to use the May budget to ease growing community anxiety about housing affordability. Lots of ideas are being thrown about: the test for the Treasurer is to sort the good from the bad. Reports that the … Continue reading

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CAMERON MURRAY. Affordable housing reform.

While the decline of our economic diversity, has failed the average worker, it has been a boon for the landlord class. Those who already own land and housing benefit at the expense of those who want access to housing for … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Older women need housing too.

In the growing discourse around affordable housing, the federal and some state governments are edging forwards. Recently proposed changes have merit, but they may exclude poorer older women in need of housing.  

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PETER PHIBBS. we must call governments out on this ‘Game of Homes’.

When politicians say supply will fix the problem, ask them why it hasn’t worked yet. And also send them a copy of the graph from Chapter 1 of any first-year economics text book showing that price is the result of … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Victoria’s recent housing affordability initiatives.

Victoria’s Labor Government has made clear its determination to do something about housing affordability, recently announcing a suite of reforms – many aimed at first home buyers. The changes are for the most part designed to boost supply of homes … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Making housing affordable – Drawing inspiration from India and Singapore

Not many of those following the housing affordability debate in Australia would think of looking to India and Singapore for inspiration, yet the experiences of each of these countries are inspiring in their scale and ambition (and in Singapore’s case, … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent warnings that house prices would fall steeply under a Labor government confirm the underlying politics of housing policy in Australia. The default position for politicians is to sound concerned about housing affordability, but do nothing. … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN & PETER PHIBBS. How the Property Council is shaping the debate around negative gearing, taxes.

We see their spokespeople quoted in the papers and their ads on TV, but beyond that we know very little about how Australia’s lobby groups get what they want. 

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DOUG CAMERON. Commonwealth can, and must, do more on housing and homelessness

The failure of the market to provide housing for all who need it is compounded by several political failures.  

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HAROLD LEVIEN. Solving our Housing Problem.

Housing investors have largely crowded out first-home-buyers from the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets. The Coalition Government has not simply failed to address this problem; its policies have been the principal cause.  

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SUSAN RYAN, OLIVER FRANKEL, JOHN MENADUE. Upcoming series on Making Housing Affordable.

After Easter, Pearls and Irritations plans to publish a series ‘Making Housing Affordable‘ addressing key aspects of the housing crisis and recommending solutions, with contributions from a range of experts and other key stakeholders, including economists, planners, demographers, housing providers … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Making housing affordable. Vancouver’s new “Empty Homes Tax”

Vancouver’s response to the housing affordability crisis,  now includes a new Empty Homes Tax at 1% per annum of the value of each empty home covered. Australian reports suggest that there may be 90,000 empty dwellings in Sydney and 83,000 … Continue reading

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CAROLYN WHITZMAN. States drag feet on affordable housing, with Victoria the worst.

Moral panic over recent increases in visibly homeless people in central Melbourne has brought to the fore the critical shortage of affordable housing across the metropolitan areas of Australia’s wealthiest cities. But living on the street is only the tip … Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS and NICOLE GURRAN. Why housing supply shouldn’t be the only policy tool politicians cling to.

If politicians were serious about the affordability crisis, they would be trying to support the important but underfunded affordable housing sector. Better targeting tax breaks towards new and affordable rental housing, rather than fuelling demand for existing homes, would also … Continue reading

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TIM AYRES. What We Leave Behind: The Case for Universal Inheritance, including an inheritance tax.

Older Australians are enjoying a growing share of Australia’s wealth; the wealth of younger Australians has stagnated. Structural changes to the labour market threatens to leave more young people in low wage, precarious work than any generation before them, and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. We are losing our sense of community

Markets are displacing society and community. Exclusion is winning out over inclusion. 

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Focusing on supply only will not solve the affordable housing crisis

There is now widespread recognition in the echelons of government, both Federal and State, that we face an affordable housing crisis. However, there is still no consensus about how to solve it.   The Coalition insists the problem can be … Continue reading

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JOHN FALZON. The housing crisis in Australia is not an economic inevitability

The government is actually intervening in the market, especially through such levers as negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount, to ramp up housing inequality!  

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Sydney second to Hong Kong in housing unaffordability

Demographia International’s latest (13th) annual International Housing Affordability Survey provides yet more evidence of the burning issue of housing affordability in Australia, particularly in our largest cities.  Sydney ranks second most unaffordable, and Melbourne is only a few places behind … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Short-term leases – salt in the wounds of unaffordability for long-term renters

An increasing number of Australians are being forced into long-term rental accommodation, unable to afford the prohibitive and ever-increasing cost of home ownership.  In the private rental market, heavily debt-laden, individual landlords are the norm. Their short-term investment outlook deprives … Continue reading

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GETHIN DAVISON & EDGAR LIU. Neighbours’ fears about affordable housing are worse than any impacts.

Housing affordability is a hot topic in Australia. Governments are increasingly recognising that more needs to be done to provide a greater range of affordable housing options, especially in the major cities. It is well documented, however, that proposals for … Continue reading

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ALAN MORRIS. Why secure and affordable housing is an increasing worry for age pensioners.

There is no doubt that an increasing proportion of older Australians on the age pension will be dependent on the private rental sector in coming decades. This is because of the housing affordability crisis and increasing divorce in later life, … Continue reading

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PETER DAY. Homelessness v houselessness

We need to change the way we do charity and welfare; we’re out of kilter: lots of giving and receiving of things, but too little giving of ourselves – we just don’t have the time. It hardly needs saying, “People … Continue reading

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