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 and policy makers.  

Pearls and Irritations has published various blogs on housing affordability for everyone and we will continue to do so.

Despite a boom in housing construction, the cost of housing continues to rise astronomically, making it impossible for growing numbers of people of all ages to rent or buy secure and suitably located accommodation.  The depth of the crisis in parts of Australia, including major cities like Sydney and Melbourne, calls for bold and urgent reform.

We can learn from what is being done overseas, subject always to a test of relevance and feasibility in an Australian context.  Successful policy will need to account for our uniquely Australian circumstances, including changing demographic patterns, reduced home ownership among the young, the growing cohort of those approaching retirement without home ownership, and wide disparities between metropolitan and regional areas.

After Easter, Pearls and Irritations plans to publish a series looking at key aspects of the housing crisis, and possible reform, with contributions from a range of experts and other key stakeholders, including economists, planners, demographers, housing providers and policy makers.

In this series, we intend to canvass many avenues of reform, including the values that should guide reform efforts, the importance of addressing both the supply and demand sides of the equation, urban planning considerations (including density and inclusionary zoning), the impact of tax settings, institutional investment in residential housing, innovative approaches to housing design, protections for those who are forced into or opt for long-term rental and, finally and importantly, the role of social housing.

We invite your suggestions and comments on the issues we should consider.


Susan Ryan was Minister for Education in the Hawke Cabinet and Age Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission 2011-2016. 

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

  1. Avatar Costas says:

    $1.3 mill for a modest cottage in Sydney’s inner west/ Five Dock situated on a modest parcel of land. At 0.16% state land taxes came to around $17,500 for this year alone (based on average land value last 3 years) – or around $330 per week into state revenue every week of the year. So if the cottage rents for $700 per week, the state treasury is taking almost half of the rent before all the other expenses of insurance, rates, water etc and the 6% agents management fee ( which all has to be covered from the rent/ paid by tenant). Multiply that by all the investment properties in NSW, that’s quite a “little earner” for our state government. Then there’s the States’ earnings from stamp duty in a burgeoning housing market such as Sydney. Then add all the CGT made by the federal gvt on sale of investment properties, and you will realise why neither level of gvt is interested in changing negative gearing any time soon or an investor dominated RE market any time soon.
    Also makes you wonder where all the money is going? And why our elderly and the sick waiting so long for a hospital bed or hip surgery? And where are all the new schools? And why does the state gvt need to privatise every profitable state utility in sight, in order to “balance the books”. As everyone seems to be losing- investors, tenants, the people of NSW, new home buyers, etc, – can we simply leave it any longer to government of either level to sort? Even more worrying from an economic standpoint is that, when 1/2 the weekly rent is going only on land tax, either there is:
    1. a conspiracy between gvt and their employees in the valuer generals office to inflate RE valuations or
    2. There is something very badly skewiff with Sydney real estate prices?

  2. Avatar Leighton says:

    Such a series is laudable with the key proviso that any discussion discards the delusion that ‘affordable housing’ is somehow attainable while maintaining the value of others. It’s not. Want housing (i.e. land) to be lower in price? Then all land values will have to decline in relative terms. This won’t be acceptable to those that are mortgaged or own outright.

    It’s not an especially complicated market, just an inflexible one with alot of interests at stake, entwined with a cultural obsession for residential property. We as a country have leveraged up more than ever before and the time to pay up is drawing ever closer.

  3. Avatar Bebert says:

    This week an MP suggested that those who have been paying rent consistently for at least three years should be exempt from laying down a deposit to purchase a home.
    Similar conditions are already applicable in some European countries like Holland. More research and policy should be developed in this direction.
    Surprisingly this suggestion did not trigger much debate in political circles and the media.

  4. Avatar Horrie Poussard says:

    Need to place housing as both an investment and as a fundamental right – shelter- and need to have policies to recognize these two elements. Currently only the former is considered leading to imbalance.

  5. Avatar Kathy Goddard says:

    Looking forward to the Series. We all need to follow this. Thanks for tackling.

  6. Avatar Aale Hanse says:

    I vaguely remember this type of discussion back in the eighties and it would seem nothing was done as we can attest to what eventuated.

    The housing affordability should have reached its climax (hopefully) with the baby boomers soon to reach the peak of life expectancy and leave us, which will open up a lot of residences that have a single occupant. Still that may take another ten plus years before it shows up on the stats. It will take longer than that to have any sort of discussion legalised and implemented because we seem to shoot down any politician who dares pop his head up and speak the truth.

    If we increase our population to make up for the Baby Boomer loss then population density in our cities and large regional cities will have to be included in the discussions. We continue to expand our cities outwards to cater for the home on a big block of land, forcing councils to provide suitable infrastructure.

    My pet peeve is home ownership around schools. Children are required to be bussed into schools because older parents (now with no children) continue to live in them till old age and on to single occupancy.

  7. Avatar Stuart Magee says:

    Should we consider limiting the sale by auction of some of the blocks released by governments to first home buyers.

  8. Avatar Jaquix says:

    Great initiative and long overdue – doing the government’s job for them! Many issues involved, but clearly if one third of the housing market in Australia is owned by “investors” and young people (and not so young) are struggling to buy their first home, there is something seriously wrong. Government dishing out benefits to one buyer and not the other, is quite wrong. It has become an exercise in transfer of wealth upwards, the benefits being paid for by taxpayers, many of whom cannot afford to buy their own home. Existing housing is not a productive investment. It should be directed away from existing housing (as per Labor Party policy). This has all been said before, but needs to be said again. When you have politicians buying their 3rd, 4th, 5th property to reduce their own tax payments, there is something wrong. (Dutton, Ley et al) NG has passed its use by date!

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