Category Archives: Housing

BOB DOUGLAS. Homelessness, a sign of increasing Australian Inequality that we must now address.

The growing number of people sleeping rough on the streets of our cities has alerted many Australians to the fact that Australia is no longer the egalitarian society we once were, and that, as in other western democracies, inequality is … Continue reading

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ILAN WIESEL, LISS RALSTON, WENDY STONE. How the housing boom has driven rising inequality.

The Productivity Commission – the Australian government’s highly influential economic advisory body – released a report titled Rising Inequality? last week. The question mark indicates its scepticism about other research findings on rising inequality in Australia. The commission responded to … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. The Bush Drivers Lament.

Thousands of escapees from chilly southern cities are currently cruising northern Australia in search of warmth, wildflowers, new friends and a little adventure. The grey nomads prefer caravans, some so lavishly equipped they’re really villas on wheels with solar panels, … Continue reading

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RICHARD ECCLESTON. The housing divide

House prices may have finally peaked, at least in Melbourne and Sydney. But a slight cooling in some overheated cities makes little difference to overall housing affordability in Australia, which has declined significantly over the past two decades.We need a new, nationally … Continue reading

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BOB BIRRELL AND EARNEST HEALY. The Housing Affordability Crisis in Sydney and Melbourne

The housing affordability crisis in Sydney and Melbourne is close to the worst in the developed world. As of 2017, the ratio of median house prices to median household income in Sydney was 12.9 and in Melbourne 9.9. Only Vancouver … Continue reading

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CHRISTINA HO, EDGAR LIU, HAZEL EASTHOPE. Higher density and diversity: apartments are Australia at its most multicultural.

Increasing numbers of city dwellers live in apartments. This is particularly the case for migrants. And that makes apartment buildings important hubs of multiculturalism in our cities.

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LEO PATTERSON ROSS. Renters still face unacceptably poor conditions.

Governments at both federal and state levels continue to rely on the supply of bricks and mortar to solve Australia’s housing issues. We should be focusing not only on how many buildings are supplied, but what those buildings contain – … Continue reading

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NED CUTCHER. House prices off the boil in some cities, but it’s still grim for renters.

2017 was hoped to have been the year of the renter.  As Federal Budget 2018 ticks by, the picture remains grim for low-income renters, despite property prices having come off the boil (for now) in some capital cities.  

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JACK DE GROOT. A home is much more than a roof over your head

This year’s Federal Budget delivered no vision, plan or commitment for addressing the growing housing affordability crisis, yet again failing to recognise how fundamental it is to our nation’s wellbeing to prioritise solving this problem.

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WENDY HAYHURST. Budget 2018: What happened to affordable housing?

No joy from Budget 2018.  Governments do have the resources to tackle affordable housing shortfalls.  They just don’t have the will to accord it the requisite priority.  In so failing, they ignore not only the deep and lasting social costs … Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS. Australian housing policy – going around in circles

The housing affordability report card for the last 12 months is a mixed one.  A welcome reduction in price and rental pressures in some capital cities is offset by rising homelessness and ongoing housing stress for those on lower incomes, … Continue reading

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JOHN DALEY AND BRENDAN COATES. We can’t begin to fix our housing crisis until our leaders start levelling with the public

Governments at both Federal and State level are still avoiding the politically difficult changes that would make a real difference to housing affordability. But we won’t make progress unless our leaders eschew the popular but ineffective options in favour of … Continue reading

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CHRIS MARTIN AND HAL PAWSON. Last year’s affordable housing green shoots have withered

Budget 2018 fails the 1.5 million Australian households living in unaffordable rental housing or officially homeless, despite the urgent need for Commonwealth leadership on affordable housing policy.

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JOHN MENADUE, SUSAN RYAN AND OLIVER FRANKEL. Update to May 2017 ‘Making Housing Affordable’ series

Pearls and Irritations continues to publish various blogs on housing affordability, recognising that the cost of and accessibility to appropriate housing remains out of reach for a significant part of the Australian population.

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SAUL ESLAKE. What has changed in the housing market over the past year?

Property prices have moderated in our largest cities over the past year, thanks in part to tightening of lending by APRA, and on inflows of foreign capital.  There is some respite for first-time buyers, but the picture for renters is … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. The impact of the 2018 Budget on women. It is most notable for its omissions.

The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) each year prepares an analysis of the impacts of the federal budget on women. Since the Coalition government abandoned the practice of including a Women’s Budget Statement in the official Budget documents, a … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN and CATHERINE GILBERT. England expects 40% of new housing developments will be affordable, why can’t Australia?

Australia has record levels of supply of new properties but despite various government interventions, housing still remains unaffordable for many.

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HAROLD LEVIEN. How to Solve our Housing Crisis.

Federal Government policies are primarily responsible for the housing crisis facing Sydney and Melbourne first-home buyers and renters. Yet this Government virtually ignores fist-home buyers. Indeed it pursues policies which drive very many out of the housing market into exorbitant … Continue reading

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DUNCAN MACLENNAN ET AL. Housing: New Reapolitik Needs a New Real Economics

Managing the pressured housing markets of cities such as Sydney and Melbourne poses a major challenge to governments at both state and Federal levels. As has become increasingly clear, such trajectories are wreaking serious damage for younger aspiring homebuyers and … Continue reading

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MARCUS SPILLER. Immigration is not the cause of our urban challenge.

Our biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are growing at around 100,000 people a year causing a bevvy of commentators including, Four Corners and the Grattan Institute, to question whether Australia is in a position to sustain its historically high immigration … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN, BILL RANDOLPH, PETER PHIBBS, RACHEL ONG, STEVEN ROWLEY. Affordable Housing Policy Failure Still Being Fuelled By Flawed Analysis.

Australia has a housing affordability problem. There’s no doubt about that. Unfortunately, one of the reasons the problem has become so entrenched is that the policy conversation appears increasingly confused. It’s time to debunk some policy clichés that keep re-emerging.

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JOHN MENADUE. Cars, not immigration, are killing our cities.

This week on Four Corners many commentators blamed immigration for many of our ills. It was a diversionary tactic.  I think that immigration is Australia’s great success story. Many of the problems that immigration cause are the result of policy failure … Continue reading

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SAUL ESLAKE. Defenders of housing status quo create ‘alternative facts’.

The release last month of (albeit heavily redacted) Treasury advice to the Turnbull Government on the likely effects of the policies the Labor Opposition took to the 2016 election regarding negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount once again … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. A roof over their heads.

The Annual Report for 2016 of the Women’s Housing Company demonstrates solutions to the terrible and growing situation of older women facing homelessness. These solutions however continue to elude policy makers, the media and business, whose failures to recognise the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The growing social divide.

There are ominous signs that Australia is breaking up into different social tribes.  Our claimed egalitarianism and social mobility are under serious challenge.  A mixed society is the best guarantee of social cohesion and social improvement.  That social cohesion arising … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Principles to guide housing policy and programs.

Housing policy should be based on three important principles. First, we should value housing for its use-value, not its exchange-value. Second, housing policy should be part of community and neighbourhood building. Third, housing policy should promote social mixing and sharing, rather than stratification.  

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SUSAN RYAN. Tent City, Martin Place.

The Berejiklian government in NSW showed this last week that it could act fast.   To deal with the reported discomfort of the Premier, caused for months by a tent city of the homeless situated in Martin Place just opposite the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Making housing affordable. (Repost from Housing Series)

Pearls and Irritations recently posted a series of articles on the theme Making Housing Affordable. The series focuses on Australia’s housing affordability crisis. Most of the articles were posted just before the Federal Budget, but a few were posted afterwards, … Continue reading

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SAUL ESLAKE. Housing affordability and the 2017-18 Budget: a missed opportunity

Housing affordability was to be a key focus of the Government in this year’s federal budget, according to the ‘nods and winks’ that traditionally precede the Treasurer’s budget speech. A journalist who has often been privy to the thinking of … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Policy sentiment rather than substance in housing policy  

The Federal Treasurer clearly understands the housing affordability pressures facing moderate and low income renters and Australia’s growing homeless. His budget speech set the scene for a package of measures to boost affordable housing supply and recalibrate demand settings. A … Continue reading

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