It seems obvious to most of us, but at least the statistics are there to back us up – according to the Housing Industry Association, housing affordability is now the worst it has ever been in Australia. The First Home Buyer Affordability Index fell by 3.5 per cent during the March quarter to be more than 10 per cent lower than a year ago. Back in 1970 you could count on spending 4.1 times an average salary to get your own home. These days you’ll need almost nine times your income, and that’s making it hard.
Blame it on the rising interest rates, blame it on the planning laws, blame it on the federal budget, but if you’re not currently a home owner, then it’s getting tougher and tougher to get into the market. According to HIA Chief Executive for policy, Chris Lamont, the problem is a lack of supply. Basically, there are too many buyers and not enough homes on the market. The solution is government reform to allow for much more housing, especially affordable housing, to be built, and to address the chronic skills shortage. Each level of government has to work together to resolve this issue, or, as Mr Lamont put it in The Age newspaper, we will start to see “a growing divide between the housing-haves and the housing may-never-haves.”
Here in Brisbane the City Council has passed a motion that will allow for 15 storey-plus developments in inner-suburban areas like West End, Woolloongabba, and Fortitude Valley. It is possible to develop affordable units in these suburbs, according to Property Council Queensland director Steve Greenwood, but only if governments can eliminate some of the massive upfront costs like infrastructure charges and stamp duty (see ‘Posh’ suburbs get crowded).
According to Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman:
“We need to place (new dwellings) where there is infrastructure, where we are close to the (central business district), where the employment will occur.”
“Sky’s the limit for Brisbane growth” – Brisbane Times