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Australian Housing Affordability can be improved through Challenging Old Attitudes and Improving Infrastructure

Housing affordability in Australia has been a hot topic on the lips of people seeking to buy a house, and for those who want to rent.

There has been no shortage of news stories showing families who simply are unable to afford to purchase a house and find it difficult to rent because of a severe shortage of housing.

There are two main reasons for this shortage - poor planning that has resulted in not enough land being opened up to developers and an unwillingness, on the part of prospective home owners and tenants, to live in high density accommodation. In short, Australians have been spoilt by an abundance of space.

We now need to become more realistic and understand that more and more of us need to live in high rise buildings if we don't want to move away from the coast.

Home Rental costs are as high as Mortgage Loan Payments

Of course it is easy to think that adequate housing is becoming unaffordable when we see sensationalised stories on current affairs programs, but is the current cost of renting as high as it seems?

A recent news item on the ABC by an economist confirms that rental prices are indeed very high. He showed a graph that revealed that in many areas in Australia it costs just as much to purchase a house as it does to rent. That is, the amount tenants would pay in rent per week is equivalent to what you would pay if you purchased a house by taking out a mortgage loan. When there are not enough houses to meet demand this becomes a very scary prospect.

Australian Government Dilemma on Rental Properties

Governments in Australia are faced with a difficult choice if they want to alleviate this problem.

The obvious solution is to provide developers with more land on which to build housing. There are two problems with this. Firstly, as mentioned previously, many people do not want to live too far from where they work. And you really can't blame people for complaining if public transport is poor and their daily commute to work is an hour long. And assuming that a Government wanted to approve more land for development they then face the second problem.

What land can they approve? There is a lot of land tied up in national parks. Unless they want to face a backlash from environmentalists, politicians need to think very carefully when they consider allocating land to develop.

Attitude of Australian tenants and home buyers needs to change

Housing shortages are becoming a major problem in Australia's metropolitan areas but as this article has demonstrated, it is possible to find solutions. The attitude of home buyers and prospective tenants needs to change if we do not want to damage the environment or live a long way from where we work. Two things are vital, more reliable transport delivered through improved infrastructure and higher density housing.


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