Resolving the affordable housing conundrum in slack housing markets: the Sydney case

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Conference Proceeding
State of Australian Cities National Conference 2011, 2011, pp. 1 - 11
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Sydney's metro-wide housing deficit is a barrier to the city's future growth, and its economic and social prosperity. The state's projections that the metropolitan area will grow from 4.2 million people in 2010 to 6 million in 2036 (NSW Department of Planning 2010) raise difficult questions about how the housing market will cope with this growth. Estimates put the 2009 NSW housing deficit at approximately 57,600 homes (National Housing Supply Council 2010). Future population growth will require an additional 770,000 new homes by 2036 (NSW Department of Planning 2010). Residential development has not kept pace with household growth, even given that households have grown less fast than we would expect based on population (average household size remains fairly high at 2.51) - a classic indicator of frustrated demand, reflecting households doubling up as a response to high housing prices. The housing deficit adds to the affordability problems faced by new market entrants, who must defer home purchase while saving for a deposit, or take on large mortgage debts. Continued affordability problems are likely to affect the availability of a skilled labour force, and thus dampen economic growth, in addition to the costs of the growing material inequality in a two-tier society made up of a landed gentry of property owners, and those trapped in escalating rental housing or who are indentured to high mortgage debts.
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