In the 1980s, Australian geographer Maurice Daly exposed the urban planning system as a policy toolkit developers could capitalise on to drive subdivision and speculation – an insight that remains true even today.
AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Essays On Air: Australia’s property boom and bust cycle stretches back to colonial days.
The Conversation, CC BY 58.7 MB (download)
Australia's property market is slowing and many are contemplating a possible bust. But today's episode of Essays On Air reminds us that since colonial days, Australia's property market has had its ups and downs.
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.
Older and poorer Australians aren’t benefiting from negative gearing.
New modelling shows negative gearing and capital gains taxes can be reformed in a way that doesn't impact poorer investors.
The old pathways to home ownership have been displaced by more uncertain routes that waver between owning and renting.
Increasingly insecure pathways to home ownership are not just a problem for property markets. The fallout is likely to hit retirement incomes, the welfare base, gender equity and the broader economy.
In the past, house building matched high immigration. Construction has increased, particularly in Sydney, but needs to make up the backlog of a decade of undersupply.
Australian governments are faced with a choice: make the difficult decisions to fix planning systems so more houses can be built, or tap the brakes on Australia's migrant intake.
New affordable housing development in Melbourne.
Ryan van den Nouwelant
Based on research comparing projects across the country, a new assessment tool calculates cost-effective ways to fund affordable housing to meet specified needs in different markets.
Nurses who care for people in the city can’t afford a property anywhere near their place of work.
People on moderate incomes, including police and emergency workers, have been forced to seek housing on the city fringes, far from their places of work. But there are ways to reverse this trend.
Australia got in first with restrictions on foreign investors in housing, but Jacinda Arden’s new government plans to go further.
Concerns about foreign investors driving up housing prices have been growing. Australia was first to bar foreign purchases of existing residential property, but New Zealand is set to go further.
State premiers like Gladys Berejiklian need to have a much sharper policy focus on delivering social and affordable housing.
Yet again the evidence shows supply is no cure-all for affordable housing. All levels of government in Australia need to concentrate on housing for low-income renters in particular.
Housing policymaking hasn’t gone smoothly since Tony Abbott sidelined the experts by scrapping the National Housing Supply Council in 2013.
Unaffordable housing and homelessness are burning issues. Policymaking has suffered from a critical lack of data and expert input since the National Housing Supply Council was axed in 2013.
Much of what is being built is straightforward ‘investor grade product’ – flats built to attract the burgeoning investment market.
The inexorable logic of the market will create suburban concentrations of lower-income households on a scale hitherto only experienced in the legacy inner-city high-rise public housing estates.
A couple of months isn’t enough to say the housing market is cooling.
AAP/ Tracey Nearmy
The housing market is too volatile to look at prices alone. If you want to understand the housing market you need to look at the wider economy.
Interest rate adjustments are crude and fail to target the problems within the housing market.
A variable special rate on new residential housing developments in selected centres could be used to create a local incentive to supply more affordable dwellings at higher density.
The Australian government has plenty of ministers, but not one of them oversees the whole $6 trillion housing sector.
New research finds a state of confusion when it comes to Australian government policymaking on housing, despite its huge economic and social significance.
Driven by higher returns on their equity, debt-financed investors are dominating the housing market and shaping its growth.
New research shows the actual returns on equity for housing investors are higher than most people realise. This helps explain why investors are able to out-compete other home buyers.
More competition between renters won’t help affordability.
In a market already tilted in favour of landlords, these apps could further push up prices.
Unless the demand pressures are eased, first home buyers are still likely to be crowded out of the market.
The budget acknowledges the crisis of affordability for first home buyers, but fails to do enough about demand pressures on prices to put home ownership back within their reach.
Tackling housing affordability will be a priority for the Federal Government in the 2017 budget.
The housing affordability measures in this budget involve not much more than tinkering.
Even properties at the lower end of the market are beyond the means of most people on low fixed incomes.
Only a small proportion of housing is affordable for low-income earners, while people on Newstart or Youth Allowance don't have any affordable options at all.
The Turnbull government’s line that supply is the key to affordability finds little support among housing experts.
Housing experts writing for The Conversation largely agree on the government policies that are causing negative distortions in the market and the wider economy. And supply is not the key concern.