Articles on housing policy

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Driven by higher returns on their equity, debt-financed investors are dominating the housing market and shaping its growth. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Investors are exploiting returns on debt financing to muscle out home buyers

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.
Restoring and expanding Australia’s run-down public housing stocks will need an increase in funding on top of the reforms in the budget. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Budget 2017 charts new social and affordable housing agenda

The budget is pushing for a much-needed reboot of the social housing sector. What it isn't offering is extra funding to renew and expand run-down housing stocks.
Unless the demand pressures are eased, first home buyers are still likely to be crowded out of the market. Sam Mooy/AAP

Budget needs a sharper policy scalpel to help first home buyers

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.
Treasurer Scott Morrison is eyeing bond aggregation as a way to finance social housing, but government funding is still needed under that model. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Affordable housing, finger-pointing politics and possible policy solutions

In the second part of our review of what The Conversation experts have to say about housing, we focus on affordability, social housing and what government can do about a growing crisis.
The Turnbull government’s line that supply is the key to affordability finds little support among housing experts. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

What housing issues should the budget tackle? This is what our experts say

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.
People with intellectual disability face so many barriers to finding a home of their own that it’s hard to pick one. shutterstock

The forgotten 660,000 locked out of home ownership

Think it's hard for first-home buyers? Ask people with an intellectual disability about it.
The financialisation of housing has become central to wealth creation in Australian households. Andrey_Popov from www.shutterstock.com

Explainer: the financialisation of housing and what can be done about it

We now value the house as a wealth builder, not just a place to live in and raise a family. The result is a distorted investment market that makes home ownership and rental unaffordable.
Despite all the proposals to combat housing affordability, Scott Morrison will need to make hard political decisions on policies that will actually make a difference. Lukas Coch/AAP

The latest ideas to use super to buy homes are still bad ideas

The latest thought bubbles about using super savings for housing might be less harmful than in the past, but they would be just as ineffective.
To meet the needs of lower-income households, housing should be both affordable and located near public transport and other services. Graeme Bartlett/Wikimedia

What a difference a month makes, but Victoria can still do more to get housing and planning right

Victoria has been lagging behind other states in developing an affordable housing strategy. Now that one has been released, how well does it meet the needs of households on lower incomes?
The homeless people evicted from Flinders Street in Melbourne’s CBD are only the tip of the iceberg of the housing crisis in Victoria. Joe Castro/AAP

States drag feet on affordable housing, with Victoria the worst

Weak state policies, which lack clear targets and mechanisms for providing more and better affordable housing, are part of the problem. Victoria still doesn't have an affordable housing strategy.
The housing affordability crisis isn’t limited to the big cities – the Tweed Heads area, for instance, is rated worse than Melbourne in the latest survey. AAP

A housing affordability crisis in regional Australia? Yes, and here’s why

The affordability crisis in regional Australia has a long history. In some places the problem is even worse for residents than in the capital cities.
The increasing proportion of children living in housing-related poverty confronts us with the question: what will we do about it? Ollyy/shutterstock.com

Rental housing policies trap children in poverty, so how low will we go?

Many children are living in low-income families that struggle to pay the rent to keep a roof over their heads. Unaffordable housing is fuelling childhood poverty, so where is the policy response?
With 700,000 vulnerable Australians depending on public housing, any proposal to change its status is likely to set off alarm bells. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Productivity Commission stance has potential for social housing gains

The report's stated goal is to make the social housing system work better. It does not present as a manifesto for an entirely marketised and deregulated framework driven by the profit motive.
The continued preference for detached housing in new suburbs is driving Perth’s urban sprawl and means two-thirds of dwellings built over the next 15 years need to be on infill sites to meet the state’s target. perthhdproductions/flickr

To cut urban sprawl, we need quality infill housing displays to win over the public

Government and industry need to demonstrate the benefits of well-designed higher-density housing. Rich residential display projects may be the ideal catalyst for creating smarter cities.
The rear of 30-32 Oxford Street, an area of Sydney affected by an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900. Wikimedia/NSW State Archives

Why 100 years without slum housing in Australia is coming to an end

New research finds almost a million Australians are living in poor or very poor-quality housing, with more than 100,000 in dwellings regarded as very poor or derelict.
A colorized 1937 photograph of a shantytown on the outskirts of Seattle. photoretrofit/Reddit

In Rio’s bulldozed favelas, echoes of America’s shantytowns

Like Brazil's favela dwellers, America's working poor felt a sense of pride and community in their shantytowns – and desperately resisted the powerful interests that sought to demolish them.

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