Friday, January 14, 2011

Bottom-line: Wishing housing tragics a Grin-and-Bear-It New Year

Be happy if you can, but it would seem excessively chirpy for DH to be skipping around wishing a Happy Smiley New Year to the: 

  • 1,100,000 Australian families in housing stress (ie paying more than 1/3 of gross income on housing)
  • 100,000 homeless
  • 175,000 on public housing waiting lists
  • 49,000 on community housing waiting lists
  • 10,000 on Aboriginal housing waiting lists *
Credit should be given to Federal Labor during Tanya Plibersek's tenure as Housing Minister, for their attempts to reverse the housing neglect of the Howard years.

Unfortunately you can't reverse 10 years' neglect in one.  But Labor has given it a game effort via the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which subsidises developers prepared to offer homes at 20% below market rent. 

And they have committed $5.6 billion to the Nation Building Stimulus Plan (Housing) which is expected to deliver 19,600 new homes, of which 10,000 were completed by Xmas 2010.

So a big HAPPY NEW YEAR to the 10,000 lucky ones, and chin up to the rest!

The stimulus tsunami has rolled over, start bailing...

Credit should also go to Housing NSW for turning around on a pinhead, and pushing through the Federal government's stringent and high pressure, use-it-or-lose-it demands. It's been a tough year and you can't entirely blame nimbyism for opposition to construction without time for prior consultation.

* The data refers to all Australia, rounded to the nearest 1,000, cited in Shelter NSW Housing Australia fact sheet. Based on the 2006 census or later depending on availability. Check the link for accurate years.  


Anonymous said...

Hi DH,
Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am (seriously) to be a tenant of Housing NSW. As a man without children or an addiction I can afford to pay one quarter of my income in rent. I remember my past of months of sleeping on my sister's couch, the recurring threat of homelessness when accommodation had to be vacated due to my low wages in between periods on benefits.
The email after yours in my inbox was an e-letter from the New Economics Foundation in Britain.

One of their recent publications download-able from it was a proposal of 408 KB for an alternative economics of housing in the UK. Its titled "One Million Homes." As our timid nation hasn't yet completed the swop over of doing everything the USA does instead of doing everything the UK does, some of the 'middle-flying' politically connected people you know might find their three proposals useful.

One of the proposals could be similar to our National Rental Affordability Scheme (I don't know yet because I haven't read far beyond the introduction of their proposals yet.) Their Outline section proposes "Measures to increase landlords' operating margin: a tier of housing between existing social housing and the private sector."

Their other two proposals mentioned in their Outline are:
1 Changes to capital gains tax and planning rules that help ensure more of the value created by planning decisions benefits taxpayers and tenants.

2 Measures to reduce the cost of capital for new homes: bonds with returns linked to the retail price index and designed to allow housing benefit(?) to be paid directly to bond holders, combined with new financial structures...

They end the Outline by saying these measures could deliver one million affordable homes (in Britain) built to low carbon standards over five years. They warn it does ... mean "standing up to vested interests."

With hopes for a constructive New Year

DH said...

We certainly are lucky to have won the housing lottery. I shudder to think what life would be like in today's housing market. Housing economics is so complicated that despite having studied some economics units at Uni, I dont know enough to evaluate the proposals in the document. I hope our housing peaks are familiar with them.

Anonymous said...

Hi again DH,
I hope you've read Adele Horan's column in a sydney morning newspaper today, Sat 22nd Jan.

She discussed the boost given to affordable housing given by the Nation Building Stimulis Plan, along with the increase in the price of bread that gentrification brings and other things.

Unless or until she says otherwise, I consider it within the realm of possibility that her excellent piece was influenced by your blog article.

I'm the same anonymous who said he was (seriously) grateful to be a tenant of Housing NSW.