By Princess Ventura | 2 Dec 2016

It’s time for a fresh conversation about the affordable housing situation in Australia.

Affordable housing is one of our greatest challenges, and improving the situation is high on the agenda across the country:

  • Infrastructure Victoria’s Draft 30-Year Strategy includes tackling affordable housing shortage as a top priority. Recommended actions include removing planning barriers, inclusionary zoning requiring developers to deliver affordable housing near public transport and services and incentivising private sector investment.

The lack of affordable housing across Australia is a critical social and economic challenge

We kicked off our discussions with a Boardroom Lunch in Australia’s least affordable city: Sydney.

According to the latest Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey of 367 metropolitan markets, Sydney was the second least affordable major market, behind only Hong Kong.

The survey compares average annual income with median dwelling price. The city’s current median is 12.2 – an increase of 2.4 points from its 9.8 median in 2014. This marks the largest year-to-year deterioration ever indicated of any city in the 12-year history of the survey. 

The lack of affordable housing across Australia is a critical social and economic challenge. 

For Sydney, the shortage of affordable housing is a threat to its competitive position as a global city. We run the risk of losing to other cities skilled workers who want to own a home but cannot afford to do so in Sydney.

The delivery of affordable housing can also have a positive or negative impact on housing affordability for the broader residential market, depending on the chosen delivery, operations and funding models

The benefits of affordable housing, however, include stability, employment opportunities, improved health outcomes, reduced homelessness and environmental savings.

Affordable housing is a multi-faceted problem that requires a multi-faceted response

There’s no magic bullet to fix the affordable housing crisis. It’s a multi-faceted problem that requires a multi-faceted response, including:

  • increasing supply
  • taxation policy
  • planning policy
  • raising density
  • reducing costs.
  • reducing (unit) size
  • using new/more innovative materials.

It also requires national leadership to provide the long-term vision, policy direction, strategic alignment and certainty of outcomes.

We will continue to bring together city and community shapers – property developers, government bodies and community housing specialists and more –  to discuss these solutions and begin to tackle some of the most important affordable housing questions:

  • Equity – How do we improve housing affordability for all?
  • Affordability for all – How do we ensure the delivery of affordable housing for positive outcomes, without negatively affecting broader markets? What models are less likely to be distortionary?
  • Incentives – How can our planning system encourage solutions?
  • New technologies – What could affordable housing look like? Where should it be located?
  • Delivery and operations – Who will deliver the next generation of affordable housing?
  • Potential partnerships – How can affordable housing be delivered more quickly?

If you’d like to discuss any of these questions, or affordable housing in general, please get in touch with one of our experts:

Princess Ventura View Profile
Murray Donaldson View Profile
Rhys Quick View Profile