Labor wants housing to be a federal election issue, but to solve the problems of recent decades Australian governments need to comprehensively rethink their approach.
The problems with housing systems in Australia and similar countries run deep. Solutions depend on a fundamental rethink of our approach to housing and its central place in our lives and the economy.
Beds for rent: a shared room listed in Castlereagh Street, Sydney.
Living in shared rooms is on the rise, because it's more affordable – and more profitable for landlords. But it's also a more precarious, often overcrowded and poorly regulated form of housing.
Labor leader Bill Shorten has announced a policy based on a solid principle of fairness, but with a second-best model of delivering social housing.
Labor has made a substantial commitment to tackling inequality in Australia, but has taken a second-best approach to overcoming the huge shortfall of social housing.
A large majority of Asian Australians who make up an increasing proportion of the population, especially in big cities like Sydney, have experienced racism.
Asian Australians experience high levels of racism. Almost six in ten Asia-born Australians report having had experiences of discrimination when trying to rent or buy housing.
Many tenants who lit up their apartments in the ‘We Live Here’ campaign see redevelopment of the Waterloo housing estate as a ploy to move them out of the area.
Working-class residents of Waterloo have a history of resisting threats to their community. Many tenants see the redevelopment of public housing as state-led gentrification to squeeze them out.
Airbnb’s likely impacts on people and their responses to it are related to their status as property owners, investors, prospective buyers or tenants.
Short-term letting via digital platforms benefits some in the market at the expense of others. Closer regulation might be needed in Melbourne and Sydney, where a permissive approach prevails.
People should be able to feel at home regardless of whether they own the place they live in.
Renting a house shouldn't mean it's not home. Until we change our meaning of home by separating it from ownership, we will never be able to "fix" Australia’s housing crisis.
Australian cities need to sustain higher levels of construction and to provide higher-density developments to ensure growing populations have access to affordable housing.
Governments should stop offering false hopes and pandering to NIMBY pressures. As well as increased public and private housing supply, growing cities need well-designed higher-density development.
Uncapped rent increases and ‘no grounds’ evictions leave older women particularly at risk of substandard housing conditions or even homelessness.
Proposed changes to NSW rental tenancy law are an improvement, but do not end the excessive rent increases and "no grounds" evictions that put renters – and older women in particular – at risk.
The right of landlords to terminate a lease with no grounds is the most serious deficiency in residential tenancy laws in New South Wales.
Residential tenancy reforms are before the NSW parliament, but a key reform is missing. In this open letter, housing academics call for an end to landlords' power to terminate leases with 'no grounds'.
As the dream of home ownership eludes more and more older Australians, this has big implications for retirement, pensions and government spending on rental assistance.
Until now most people have eventually owned a home. But two trends – falling ownership and a growing aged population – will put the budgets of retirees and government under real pressure.
If you want to separate investor demand for property assets from demand for affordable housing, rent is a better indicator than property prices.
Property prices have soared in the past decade, but much more modest increases in rent, with the exception of Sydney, suggest less of an imbalance of supply and demand for housing as a place to live.
The return of the historic problem of overcrowded dwellings points to a need in Australia for better understanding of the causes and regulatory responses.
Jacob Riis (1889)
The standards we use today were designed to help avoid the overcrowded housing that blighted cities in the past. But severe overcrowding is again on the rise, so what needs to be done?
It’s not easy to tell, but about a quarter of Airbnb properties in Sydney are essentially commercial letting operations.
One problem with Airbnb is that it isn't transparent about how many properties are truly 'shared' and how many are just part of a letting business. Regulators need to know that to manage the impacts.
Hobart is facing a rental accommodation shortfall of about 5,000 households, but the statewide shortage totals more than 29,000 households.
Tasmania has an estimated rental housing shortfall of 29,200 households across the state. Especially in disadvantaged rural areas, local councils have had to step in to help house residents locally.
Housing is just one of the essentials in household budgets and it’s when there’s no way to manage all these costs that financial stress really sets in.
Housing affordability is one of Australia’s great unsolved problems. Some households can make adjustments to cover high housing costs, but the ones deprived of essentials are under real stress.
People are alarmed about Airbnb’s impacts, but these are far from uniform across the city.
The patterns of Airbnb listings in Australia's biggest cities suggest impacts on rental housing are likely to be biggest in high-end areas that appeal to tourists. Low-income areas are less affected.
Will Gwynne walks through one of the nine Melbourne estates that is being sold in the public housing ‘renewal’ program.
The problem with most public housing 'renewal' programs is that the residents have the least say in what happens to the places they call home. The evidence of housing research is also being ignored.
Exordium Apartments at Zetland, built by City West Housing, provide affordable, high-quality housing to key workers within the City of Sydney.
If local government is to deliver affordable housing, state and federal governments must assist. Even councils as powerful and well resourced as the City of Sydney cannot do it by themselves.
The argument that stronger supply will deliver more affordable housing isn’t borne out in areas where new unit and apartment construction is booming.
The clichés about housing supply and regulatory restraints are distractions from the need to focus on expanding the affordable housing sector to directly meet the needs of low-income households.