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Analysis and Comment (25)

Greenfield land developments have trumped urban growth boundaries in many Australian cities. Greenfield land developments have trumped urban growth boundaries in many Australian cities. Joe Castro/AAP

Back to the drawing board for Australian urban planning

State government attempts to redirect development from urban fringes to established urban areas have failed. New deregulated planning systems, not strategic metropolitan plans, are driving development…
Australia’s property market is heating up; but what role have self-funded superannuants played? Australia’s property market is heating up; but what role have self-funded superannuants played?

Are SMSFs inflating a property bubble?

Self managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) have come under criticism from regulators amid concerns that the sector is over-investing in the residential property sector. The profession has hit back at the…
Private land disguised as public space. Even London’s City Hall is rented back from the private sector. Private land disguised as public space. Even London’s City Hall is rented back from the private sector. Toby Melville/PA

The privatisation of public space

When a public utility is acquired by a private equity firm, there is no doubt what kind of process is underway. The take-over of provision of services and, by extension, ability to profit from them is…
A respected US researcher believes baby boomers retreating from their large homes could lead to a glut of unsellable homes. Could this happen in Australia? A respected US researcher believes baby boomers retreating from their large homes could lead to a glut of unsellable homes. Could this happen in Australia?

The Boomer housing bust: coming to Australia?

They’re calling it the great “senior sell off” and it’s scaring suburban America. Still recovering from the housing market crisis of 2007-09, America’s latest concern is a looming glut of unsellable suburban…
A quarter of retirees are using their superannuation lump sum to pay off debt: is this poor planning or the result of tax incentives? A quarter of retirees are using their superannuation lump sum to pay off debt: is this poor planning or the result of tax incentives?

For retirees, nothing is certain but debt and taxes

Will extra debt neutralise increases in the superannuation contribution rate? Studies of retirees’ financial positions show that many people accumulate debt faster than they add to their super. Once they…
Australia’s housing and rental affordability crisis is often cited as a justification for negative gearing. Australia’s housing and rental affordability crisis is often cited as a justification for negative gearing. AAP

It’s time to abolish negative gearing

Few Australian housing policies are more contentious than negative gearing. Despite the publicity it has received and its popularity with government and property investors, little analysis of negative…
Damned lies and statistics: the figures indicate a significant deficit of dwellings in Australia. But is the methodology sound? Damned lies and statistics: the figures indicate a significant deficit of dwellings in Australia. But is the methodology sound? Capt' Gorgeous

Beware the rent-seeking organisation: don’t be dudded by housing data

One of the more interesting outcomes the 2011 Census produced was the figures concerning the housing market. The reason for this interest is how the results contrasted with the idea that Australia currently…
It’s a nice place for a house, but where will you put the strawberry farm? It’s a nice place for a house, but where will you put the strawberry farm? Chip_2904/Flickr

Will Sydney or Melbourne have more hungry people in 2036?

The Victorian Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, recently announced an urban expansion for Melbourne: 5,958 hectares of new suburbs and transport corridors. But he didn’t mention the implicit costs of changing…
Many apartment dwellers would like to know how to make their home more sustainable. But where to start? Many apartment dwellers would like to know how to make their home more sustainable. But where to start? Chris Kreussling

Untangling the steps to a more sustainable apartment life

Apartment owners beware – your asset could be under threat! If we don’t improve the sustainability of our city apartment blocks their value will fall. Australian cities are increasingly embracing apartment…
Downton Abbey is a period indulgence for some, but at its heart it is a story of property law. Downton Abbey is a period indulgence for some, but at its heart it is a story of property law. AAP/Seven Network

Downton Abbey: melodrama, frocks and … property law?

Dim the lights, don the snuggie and pass the chocolate; Downton Abbey is back. Amid all the mooning over Matthew and Mary, viewers may not have noticed that Downton Abbey is actually about property law…
Apartment living has increased slightly in the past 20 years, but we’re not letting go of our houses just yet. Apartment living has increased slightly in the past 20 years, but we’re not letting go of our houses just yet. Alan Levine

Fewer occupants, more bedrooms: census shows Australians prefer bigger houses

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers on…
Turn off that light! Poor people are more likely to behave sustainably, whatever they believe. Turn off that light! Poor people are more likely to behave sustainably, whatever they believe. Justin Scott Campbell

Australia’s rich talk about saving the environment; the poor bear the burden of doing it

Public housing tenants struggling with their bills will well understand NSW Community Services Minister Goward’s concern over the rising costs of nails and pots of paint. According to the minister, the…
Talk of a Chinese property bubble has been greatly exaggerated. Talk of a Chinese property bubble has been greatly exaggerated. Spiffy0777

Busting the myth of China’s property bubble

Five years on, the US economy remains sluggish after the bursting of a house price bubble. More recently, the focus has been on China, the world’s second largest economy, and whether it too might be overwhelmed…
Does the building industry have the enough capacity to increase the housing supply? Does the building industry have the enough capacity to increase the housing supply? AAP

Innovation in the construction industry can help solve Australia’s housing shortage

We often hear that Australia is facing a housing shortage that is driving up property prices, but what is the best way out of this predicament? In the final days of last year, National Housing Supply Council…
An “eco village” in the UK. With the right policies, energy-efficiency has a future in Australia. An “eco village” in the UK. With the right policies, energy-efficiency has a future in Australia. telex4

How to make home buyers see the value of energy efficiency

Mandatory energy efficiency ratings for houses have been in force in parts of the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe for some time and appear to have gained general acceptance. New homes in particular…
Our property prices are propped up by a range of political, economic and even emotional reasons. Our property prices are propped up by a range of political, economic and even emotional reasons. AAP

Does Australia have the fundamentals to cope with our property prices?

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Bigger houses (on the left) - not smaller lots - are killing the Aussie backyard. Bigger houses (on the left) - not smaller lots - are killing the Aussie backyard. Tony Hall

What has happened to the great Aussie backyard?

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Why does investing in homes carry so much risk? Why does investing in homes carry so much risk?

It’s time for a fundamental rethink of how we buy and sell property

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Reducing the finance costs of housing will also reduce house prices. Reducing the finance costs of housing will also reduce house prices. Flickr/kennymatic

A house for half the cost? Here’s how

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians – property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Buyers' playtime: Australians have splurged on mortgage debt. Buyers' playtime: Australians have splurged on mortgage debt. Flickr/Bill Ward's brickpile

Debunking the myths peddled by Australia’s property bubble ‘deniers’

Our Safe as Houses series delves into a topic close to the heart of many Australians - property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view property…
Interest rates would appear to be a national obsession: but are we worrying too much? Interest rates would appear to be a national obsession: but are we worrying too much? AAP

Why falling house prices aren’t the calamity the media would have you believe

Welcome to Safe as Houses, a series delving into a topic close to the heart of many Australians - property. This is not a series on where the market might be heading. Instead we aim to explore how we view…
Are ordinary homeowners perpetuating Australia’s property bubble? Are ordinary homeowners perpetuating Australia’s property bubble? AAP

The property bubble makes us slaves to each other’s debt

While my recent commentary (here and here) demonstrates Australian housing is in a bubble, I have not explained where this situation has come from. Asset markets, in this case, property, are the subject…
Farmers have been shocked to find coal seam exploration companies can enter their property. Farmers have been shocked to find coal seam exploration companies can enter their property. kateausburn

Not quite The Castle: why miners have a right to what’s under your land

All over Australia, landowners are fighting to keep mining companies off their property. From the Darling Downs to the Liverpool Plains, farmers have been locking out coal seam gas extraction companies…
House prices grew by 127% between 1996 and 2010, but few people believe there is a property bubble. House prices grew by 127% between 1996 and 2010, but few people believe there is a property bubble. AAP

Are economists ignoring Australia’s property bubble?

One aspect of housing and stock market bubbles continually repeats: the vast majority of economists either miss or deny their existence. In recent years, enormous asset bubbles have burst in many countries…
Could a housing bubble burst occur in Australia on the same scale as in the US during the financial crisis? Could a housing bubble burst occur in Australia on the same scale as in the US during the financial crisis? AAP

Should we be bracing for an inevitable housing bubble bust?

By now it should be obvious to anybody who is not a banker or a real estate agent that Australia is in the grip of a substantial housing bubble. The greatest housing-price rise in the history of Australian…