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Housing Affordability - a Matter of Concern in Australia

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‘Housing Affordability’ has always been the matter of concern because the staggering expense of lodging in Australia has been at the front line of the scope of ongoing approach when we discuss and concern about Australia’s tax collection arrangements. So, among all the three topics of the assignment, this one seems to be the most appealing to me, as every household in Australia is directly influenced by price of houses. It shows the ability of every household to meet the cost of housing and also balancing his capabilities to meet other basic necessities of life. This is the issue of each one out of nine household, which is a matter of genuine concern. This topic is closely linked to every individual living in Australia, as housing is a basic necessity of a human being. Being a student, affordability of housing always seems to be challenging for us. In the normal context, people confuse ‘housing affordability’ with ‘affordable housing’, but both are completely different terms. The former deals with the relation between the amount spend on housing, including rent, bonds given, prices and other incomes, whereas the latter is concerned with that particular section of society whose income is less than normal household income that is in other words, affordable housing addresses the needs of middle class and lower class households.

It is accepted that there are issues about affordability all over Australia. The most commonly used criterion for affordability is 30/40 rule, which refers to the point that out of 40 per cent of income distribution, 30 per cent is allocated to housing, but still it seems to be out of reach of households (Australian bureau of Statistics’ Household Expenditure Survey, 1998). Using this 30/40 criterion widely, more that 60 per cent households, comprising mostly of households with low income, are in housing stress. A household is said to be in ‘Housing stress’ if it is spending more than 30% of its earning on housing.

In this essay, I am going to discuss the different trends in housing costs over the decades and what are the major reasons behind this and how Royal Commission is responding to the situation.

Literature review

In order to deal with estimation of lodging reasonableness in Australia, we have two noteworthy ways: proportion measures and leftover measures. Proportion or ratio measures pay more attention towards the connection between lodging consumption (costs and expenses) and family income, either as a middle or mean. Most of the different lodging industries like the ABS, the OECD and many other publish proportion estimates only. As plotted by Gabriel et al in 2005, remaining measures underscore the ability of a family to keep up a satisfactory way of life in the wake of housing costs. According to report of Reserve Bank of Australia 2014 which was submitted to Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into Affordable housing, they stated that, ’Australian Housing prices increased by about two thirds relative to income in the decade or so up to around the end of 2003’ (Gabriel et al, 2005). On an average, private leaseholders spend a greater amount of their gross family unit salary on lodging costs than other residency types. They are spending 20% of their gross household income on lodging costs in 2013-14 compared to 16% for those with a home loan (ABS publication, Housing Occupancy and Costs). Housing affordability graph of Australia showed a sharp decrease since early 1980s. Prices of houses showed a rise of nearly 80% from last 40 years up to 2014. The Select Committee on Housing Affordability concluded by saying that:-

  • The mean price of house in metro cities is nearly equal to more than 7 years of average income;
  • In spite of country’s growing economic prosperity, nearly 1,000,000 households live in housing stress and 100,000 people spend homeless night on road on any one night.

On the other hand, if are looking at past 18 months, Australian housing costs have succumbed. Across the whole nation, price index was lower by 2% year on year in August 2018. This can be seen as this country’s first housing price fall in past half decade. Certainly, costs remain 40% higher than normal in 2012, when plentiful of credit supply and solid outside demands started controlling the market (Taosha Wang, 2018). Falling housing costs and rising debt servicing costs decreases optional pay and produce negative effects which may compel family unit utilization and in this way, prevents the Reserve Bank of Australia(RBA) from climbing its money rate from 1.5% for quite a while. This is the reason for our increasingly preservationist perspective on a lower unbiased rate and an amiable situation for Australian security yields. It is also anticipated that Australian banks should be adversely influenced, given their vast exposure to the lodging area straightforwardly and by implication. Moreover, home loan accessibility has fixed because of property cooling measures and closer bank investigation. Over the recent years, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the nation’s financial controller, has acquainted different measures to cool down the lodging market. In December 2017, the Australian government set up the Royal Commission into misconduct in the banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry to research budgetary segment unfortunate behavior.

More fragile investment demand is another imperative explanation behind the lodging value decreases. Foreign demand developed quickly somewhere in the range of 2013 and 2016, especially from China, and retained an expected 15-25% of new lodging supply in nation’s biggest urban areas like Sydney and Melbourne.

The national pinnacle body speaking to finance and contract representatives says that the Royal Commission has failed to comprehend the job of home loan agents and the aggressiveness they convey to the market following its suggestions to dispose of trail commissions for intermediaries, which the government has actualized from July one year from now. Managing director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia , Peter White said that it is extremely baffling that the Royal Commission needs to wreck exactly 20,000 private ventures for the money related increase of the enormous banks, and we believe the Government will see clearly on this and keep on working widely with our industry to improve buyer results. He also added that borrowers trust and support brokers. So, there is a motivation behind why more than 59 percent of credits are composed through representatives. Clients have no issues with agent commissions as they show better results by using a home loan dealer. Dealers give better service, more choice and a very much trained experts to take them through a gigantic and stressful time of their life (Peter White, FBAA, 2018)

In other words, we can also say that the Banking Royal Commission is causing a scandal in the money world and its effects will be sweeping. More tight limitations on home loans could build a danger of property costs falling. Regions that experience low economic growth, poor population growth and in general low interest or residences could well finish up carrying large amounts of that hazard. The only good news is that these confinements shouldn’t generally affect individuals who already have their own houses, unless they want to sell or renegotiate. If they need to sell, there is a risk that they will get a much lower cost than expected. But if they are redesigning their property, a lower value condition could be their good fortune since they may invest less money to purchase a superior property. The individuals who will most probably get the most benefit of Banking Royal Commission will be cashed-up buyers with no worries in regard to obtaining limits and serviceability (Doron Peleg, 2018).


In order to conclude this essay, I would like to say that lodging moderateness is a vital contemporary issue that has been influenced by ongoing price hikes, and among other strategy reactions, has resulted in the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into first home possession. It is hence important that strategy makers must comprehend the issues of importance and estimation related with housing affordability. Moreover the customers looking to get into the markets are advised to get an advice from professionals, as Banking Royal Commission showed that buyers do not take the advice that is of most advantage to them.

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