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Analysis and Comment (39)

Australia’s housing market is among the most expensive in the world. Australia’s housing market is among the most expensive in the world. AAP Image/Joel Carrett

Speaking with: Michael Darcy on housing affordability

In the past six months the federal government has cut the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) and announced an inquiry into foreign investment in residential real estate. In both cases the government…
Australian youth is at risk of being locked out of the housing market, and a significant number are falling through the gaps of the rental market. Australian youth is at risk of being locked out of the housing market, and a significant number are falling through the gaps of the rental market. AAP/David Crosling

Crowded housing market gives youth little chance for independence

It’s Saturday morning in West Brunswick, a suburb in Melbourne’s inner north. From my bedroom window I can see a crowd gathering across the road for a house inspection. The crowd swells to 60 or so people…
Without a new deal soon the Green Deal will go from hot to dead cold. Without a new deal soon the Green Deal will go from hot to dead cold. House thermal image by Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

Heat is on for new way to sell Green Deal to householders

Among the UK government’s pronouncements for the new parliamentary session were measures designed to boost zero-carbon home building in order to reap the benefits of lower emissions, lower household energy…
London’s Olympic Park, once one of Europe’s largest and most contaminated brownfield site. London’s Olympic Park, once one of Europe’s largest and most contaminated brownfield site. BaldBoris

Brownfield sites are opportunities in the heart of towns and cities

The city of Famagusta in Cyprus lies empty, as it has since the 1974 invasion that divided the island into north and south. The city its former inhabitants left behind is now a ghost town, streets overgrown…
The IMF is wasting its time trying to convince central banks of a housing bubble. The IMF is wasting its time trying to convince central banks of a housing bubble. Shutterstock

Memo to the IMF: there is no housing bubble

Australia’s house prices are grossly overinflated – if you believe the International Monetary Fund’s recent analysis. It says radical policies are required to deflate this emerging housing bubble, such…
Coming soon to a city near you. Coming soon to a city near you. Nate Edwards

Explosive London housing bubble will spread to the rest of the UK

It is easy to see why people are talking about the possibility of another UK housing bubble, just six years after the last crash. House prices in London, for instance, have gone up 17% in the past year…
Why not rent instead? Why not rent instead? EPA

Rental reforms chime with tenants as house prices surge

Just 43% of Germans own their homes – one of the world’s lowest rates. This reminds us that housing tenure has little to do with economic and social policy performance. So is the UK set to continue its…
Without more investment in public housing, many homeless older women will have nowhere to go. Without more investment in public housing, many homeless older women will have nowhere to go. EPA/Sergei Chirikov

Building funds cut even as older women swell ranks of homeless

Social services minister Kevin Andrews recently announced an extension of funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) until June 30, 2015. This agreement funds 180 homelessness…
Prefab resprout: Here they come again! Prefab resprout: Here they come again! wikimedia

Prefab housing is coming back, and this time it’s permanent

In the late 1950s, more than a decade after the war and not long after the rock and roll explosion, Britain embarked on a house-building programme the like of which we have never seen before or since…
There’s no shortage of investors in high-rise housing, but is it occupied? There’s no shortage of investors in high-rise housing, but is it occupied? Dan Peled/AAP

Housing blame game here to stay in world of infinite demand

It is true that the main culprits for housing prices in Australia are taxation and regulation regimes, as argued by Stephen Kirchner last week. But this is more because of their impact on demand than supply…
Desolation: why are all these houses empty? Desolation: why are all these houses empty? Peter Byrne/PA

Reach out to owners to fill Britain’s empty homes

London is about to experience a residential building boom the like of which the capital hasn’t experienced in decades. According to a report from New London Architecture there are more than 230 new high-rise…
How much is that cluttered spare room really costing you? How much is that cluttered spare room really costing you? Flickr/raider3_anime

Want to cut your costs of living? Start with a smaller home

How much would you give up to have a home that didn’t cost you a cent in energy bills? Would you sacrifice that spare bedroom that’s full of junk and hardly gets used? Or the additional bathroom? What…
Losing access to public housing has emerged as a major concern for Aboriginal Victorians. Losing access to public housing has emerged as a major concern for Aboriginal Victorians. www.panoramio.com/photo/55450813 - taken by densil

How fear and funding undercut a fair go for Indigenous Victorians

Imagine being the mother of a young autistic boy, whose violent outbursts had caused $30,000 of damage to your rented home - but being too afraid to ask anyone for help for fear of having your son taken…
No new homes up there, Boris. No new homes up there, Boris. Stefan Rousseau/PA

Boris’s housing plan needs the rest of us to feed the beast

London’s population is increasing rapidly and forecasts say this growth is set to continue over the next decade and more. However, the last time the capital had enough new houses to match this rate of…
Sometimes the best plans aren’t enough. Sometimes the best plans aren’t enough. Ben Birchall/PA

Overhaul the planning system to boost building of better homes

As a planning academic you might think that I get heavily involved in the planning system – commenting on draft development plans, or objecting to proposed developments – but actually I tend to steer clear…
Even tiny houses are worth a lot these days. Even tiny houses are worth a lot these days. Images_of_Money

Barratt profits as houses shrink, but don’t blame the builder

Bosses at Barratt Developments, the UK’s largest housebuilder, could be forgiven for awarding themselves a pat on the back at the company’s AGM today. Advance sales are up 47%, aided by the government’s…
I say, look at the size of this larder. I say, look at the size of this larder. Oli Scarff/PA

Help to Buy is a problem for UK banks, by default

Mortgage rates for the government’s Help to Buy scheme were announced yesterday amid the usual torrent of criticism for a policy that has very few friends. One Daily Telegraph commentator deemed the policy…
Just 199,000 to go. Just 199,000 to go. Rui Vieira/PA

Miliband’s housing promises reflect an escalating crisis

The commentariat has gone into overdrive in the wake of Ed Miliband’s speech to the Labour party conference. Does it represent, at last, the shattering of the neoliberal consensus? Is it the articulation…
Houses should be homes, not assets. Houses should be homes, not assets. Chris Radburn/PA

House prices need to be stabilised, not capped

Amid all the noise around UK housing policy, it is worth taking a step back and asking a deeper question about our property market. Yes, another bubble would be damaging for the UK economy and especially…
Yesterday’s early start to the bushfire season threatened homes in Sydney’s suburbs. Yesterday’s early start to the bushfire season threatened homes in Sydney’s suburbs. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Fire and flood: how home insurance can help us adapt to climate change

Australia is a harsh and volatile environment, subject to extremes of fire and flood. We’ve just seen a particularly early start to the bushfire season, with over 60 fires burning and at least two homes…
Bricks and mortar, yes, but how much insulation under the tiles? Bricks and mortar, yes, but how much insulation under the tiles? Rui Vieira/PA

Plugging 25 million leaky houses is no small task

The UK has some of the oldest – and leakiest – housing stock in the western world. The vast majority of it will still be standing in 2050, the year by which the government has set itself a target to cut…
Not just a nice idea: zero emissions housing is affordable and possible, once some policy changes are made. Not just a nice idea: zero emissions housing is affordable and possible, once some policy changes are made. Jeff Egnaczyk

To cut emissions, the housing sector has to pull its weight

If Australia is to reduce its emissions enough to limit the impacts of climate change, all sectors are going to have to pull their weight. It’s a big job: scientists tell us we need reduce emissions by…
Where you live can reveal a lot about your political preferences and socio-economic grouping. Where you live can reveal a lot about your political preferences and socio-economic grouping. AAP/David Crosling

Australia’s most disadvantaged suburbs: where are they and who lives there?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released a new round of data based on the 2011 census. One part of this latest release that has caught the eye of the media is the 2011 Socio-Economic…
What’s the evidence linking inefficient planning approval processes to expensive housing in Sydney and other state capitals? What’s the evidence linking inefficient planning approval processes to expensive housing in Sydney and other state capitals? Nicole Gurran

Home truths: are planners really to blame for our housing “shortage”?

Is Australia becoming a nation of renters, and are planners to blame? Newspaper headlines accompanying the release of a new report on housing supply and affordability, by the federal government’s independent…
There’s more to a house than four walls and a door - the history of home ownership in Australia reveals a lot about our nation. There’s more to a house than four walls and a door - the history of home ownership in Australia reveals a lot about our nation. Flickr/Orderinchaos

Me and my McMansion: Australians and their homes

Next time you drive through a suburban street or any country town shut your eyes for a moment and try to imagine the dreams of the people who built that house. Houses are envelopes for our desires and…
The new definition is based on the notion of a “home” rather than minimum community standards of housing. The new definition is based on the notion of a “home” rather than minimum community standards of housing. Deadly Sirius

Definition of homelessness changes but problems remain

According to the best estimates at the time, almost 105,000 Australians were homeless on census night in August 2006. This promoted then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to make the ambitious commitment to accommodate…
At a critical juncture: policies to try to make Melbourne a more compact city have failed. At a critical juncture: policies to try to make Melbourne a more compact city have failed. AAP

The end of affordable housing in Melbourne?

The Melbourne housing market is at a critical juncture. A new research paper by Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research called ‘The End of Affordable Housing in Melbourne?’ argues…
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…
Many Australians who live alone are elderly. Many Australians who live alone are elderly. soylentgreen23

Australian census: one in ten live alone, but that doesn’t mean they’re lonely

AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the first batch of its 2011 census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the…
Facing tough questions: NSW’s planning review must grapple with competing visions of development. Facing tough questions: NSW’s planning review must grapple with competing visions of development. Flickr/Askew One

Under review: rival visions for people and communities

Later this year Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, faces a difficult decision. Will he prepare new state planning legislation that prioritises a desired outcome: healthy, functional…
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…
Building away from our cities could ease congestion in urban areas. Building away from our cities could ease congestion in urban areas. AAP

Escape from Sydney: planning the way out of congestion

Bashing planning has become a national sport, and in NSW, we’re the best at it. Stuck in traffic? Blame the planners. Housing stress? Planners are too slow and too stingy with land release. In the perception…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (3)

Moving tougher on poor children

Children who move frequently while young are more likely to have behavioural problems - but only if they’re from low income…