Rental affordability – Analysis and Comment

Rent strikers from Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood and fellow protesters gather outside Social Justices Tribunal Ontario in February, 2018. The group refused to pay rent after the landlord applied for an increase in rents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity to create affordable cities

It's time to reset Canada's housing policies to make cities more affordable and more socially just places to live.
Morrison government assistant minister Luke Howarth argues that finding jobs for people in social housing will help free up dwellings for other people on the waiting list. Mick Tsikas/AAP

As simple as finding a job? Getting people out of social housing is much more complex than that

Helping tenants find work supposedly creates a pathway into private rental housing, freeing up social housing for others. Private rental costs and the situations of many tenants make that unrealistic.
Even when sharing a house, the average cost of rent means very little is left over from the Newstart allowance for food and living costs. shutterstock.com

City share-house rents eat up most of Newstart, leaving less than $100 a week to live on

Once rent is paid, having to live on only $14 a day doesn't cover the costs of job seeking. The evidence of the need to increase Newstart and Rent Allowance is overwhelming.
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. Aaron Bunch/AAP

We still live here: public housing tenants fight for their place in the city

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. Justin Lane/EPA

Who wins and who loses when platforms like Airbnb disrupt housing? And how do you regulate it?

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.
Vancouver has scaled up delivery of affordable social housing to about 15 times as much as Melbourne over the past three years. Shutterstock

Ten lessons from cities that have risen to the affordable housing challenge

Cities overseas that have been able to overcome the affordable housing challenges facing cities like Melbourne have adopted a coordinated and systemic approach to scaling up solutions that work.
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)

Overcrowded housing looms as a challenge for our cities

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?
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. Emma Baker

Housing affordability stress affects one in nine households, but which ones are really struggling?

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.
Housing policymaking hasn’t gone smoothly since Tony Abbott sidelined the experts by scrapping the National Housing Supply Council in 2013. Alan Porritt/AAP

Mounting housing stress underscores need for expert council to guide wayward policymaking

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.
Households are not competing on equal terms in the private rental market – their perceptions of insecurity vary according to their means, location and reasons for renting. April Fonti/AAP

The insecurity of private renters – how do they manage it?

Private renters' security of tenure in Australia has less legal protection than in other countries with high private rental rates. A new study reveals mixed responses to this state of uncertainty.
When public investment in a development like Sydney’s Northern Beaches Hospital boosts land values, who should reap those gains: the community or individual owners? NSW Premier's Office/AAP

Tax on ‘unearned gains’ is the missing piece of the affordable housing puzzle

Who is entitled to the increase in value created by planning approvals, new infrastructure, population growth or urban development? For John Stuart Mill, the answer would have been the community.
Are the millennials doomed to be nomads, locked out of the home-ownership market forever? sharon_k/flickr

Off the plan: shelter, the future and the problems in between

Owning a home has deep cultural and economic connotations. A home owner is a member of a street, a community. They are a successful adult human. They own a piece of the pie, the dream.