29 Aug Tackling The Housing Affordability Crisis
Home ownership is a key goal for many Australians. Owning a property signifies stability, security and comfort – a personal safe haven in which one can seek shelter and feel completely at ease. The chance to own a home should not be restricted to the overly privileged, but right now it looks as if we are heading that way.
Various areas of the nation are clearly in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, and unless we do something about it, many Australians will be left disappointed as their goal to own a home slips into ‘unrealistic dream’ territory. This is especially true in Victoria, where even the most affordable properties have become far less affordable for the average Australian.
UDIA Victoria suggests the following five-point plan to help tackle housing affordability:
1 Balance up supply and demand
It is critically important that supply keeps up with the demand for housing. If we can increase housing supply in well serviced areas, then we can help families, older people, professionals, students, singles, key workers or anyone else who falls in the low- to middle-income status to enter the housing market and live comfortably.
2 Stop fearing investors
People who invest in new housing are really important for bringing new housing to market. This is because a significant portion of developers depend on pre-sales bought by investors to get their projects started, especially for projects in the well serviced inner suburbs of Melbourne. When there’s very little incentive for people to invest in new housing over investing in established housing, it makes it difficult for developers to
get their projects going, which results in less supply.
3 Invest in infrastructure that will open up new housing opportunities
Government must step up and invest in enabling infrastructure such as roads and public transport, which will unlock opportunities for our newest communities.
4 Bring our planning system up to speed
The planning system is the most important tool we have for making sure the cost of planning and building new homes is not so expensive and time-consuming that everyday people get locked out of the housing market. Our system in Victoria is flawed and inefficient, and more often than not, it actually makes it harder to deliver new housing, rather than helping, assisting and enabling new homes to be built.
5 Start talking about the benefits of a denser city
Our cities are evolving as they grow, and with this comes more choice and opportunity for housing, jobs and services. With a population growing as ours is, density is inevitable. If it is done well, there are amazing benefits of a denser city, one of which is downward pressure on home prices.
Ultimately, the solution to our current housing affordability crisis is to make significant changes that enable growth in the housing sector rather than those that hinder its success.
About the contributor: Danni Addison is the Victorian CEO of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA), the nation’s key representative body for the housing industry.
In this interview, Danni delves deeper into housing affordability, if we have a problem, what it takes to get into home ownership and what we should be considering if we’re looking at making housing more affordable.