Australia is in the midst of a housing crisis. For those of us who live and work in our cities, the level of homelessness we see on our streets serves as a daily reminder of the lack of housing. As federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said earlier this month, “it is all about supply”.
And he is right. It is that simple.
But, there are also two distinct segments of housing supply. Firstly, housing that is created to be purchased by the private sector (investors and owner occupiers) because they can afford to buy or rent a house or apartment, and the second type is housing that is not economically viable because people cannot afford to rent it. They just don’t earn enough money. Historically, governments used to invest in this second area of housing supply because it was uneconomic for the private sector.
There has been a minimal net increase in the amount of affordable/social/public housing, yet the private market has exploded. Both types of housing segments need supply if we are going to put a downward pressure on price. Yet only one is being supplied; the private market.
The homelessness we see in our streets today is the direct result of a lack of investment in public, social and affordable housing by successive governments over several decades. And the homelessness will get worse. Much worse. Many more Australians are just one pay cheque away from themselves being defined as homeless…(continues)
SOURCE: Robert Pradolin, “If Australia has a housing crisis, supply is the answer”, Financial Review, 12 feb 2017
BroCAP is produced by the two librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia. .