Housing affordability: Resurrecting the Australian dream
Is the great Australian dream becoming a fantasy? Public anxiety about housing affordability is on the rise. Home ownership rates are on the decline, especially among the young. Australian house prices have more than doubled since the mid-1990s, outstripping incomes. Without change, a generation of Australians risks being locked out of the housing market.
Australian governments are responding. Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison says he will use the May budget to tackle housing affordability. The Victorian State Government has already announced a plan to help first homer buyers. New NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has nominated housing affordability as one of her top priorities. The issue of housing affordability has vexed Australian governments for decades Successive federal and state governments have told voters they can fix the problem. And all the while house prices have continued to rise. There is no shortage of proposed policy solutions. But how do we sort the good from the bad?
In this Forward Thinking event at the State Library of NSW, Jessica Irvine, senior economics writer for Fairfax Media, Ken Morrison, CEO, Property Council of Australia and Grattan Institute Fellow Brendan Coates discuss the problem, and weigh the options for reform.
Jessica Irvine is one of Australia’s leading economics journalists, renowned for her ability to explain complex ideas in a simple and entertaining way. She has written for Fairfax’s The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers for more than a decade, including a two-year stint in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. Between 2012 and 2014 she was National Economics Editor of News Corp Australia’s tabloids, including the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Courier-Mail and the Adelaide Advertiser, before returning to Fairfax. She is the author of two books, Zombies, bananas and why there are no economists in heaven: The Economics of Real Life and The Bottom Line Diet.
Ken Morrison is the Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia, the national representative of the property industry. Ken is passionate about the future of our cities. He is a director of the Green Building Council of Australia, deputy chair of the Business Coalition for Tax Reform, sits on the executive committee of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, and is a Property Champion of Change promoting women in leadership roles. Before taking up his current position in 2014, Ken was the Chief Executive of the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF), the peak CEO forum for the tourism, aviation and transport sectors.
Brendan Coates is a fellow at the Grattan Institute. Brendan has extensive experience advising on public and economic policy issues. Brendan worked with the World Bank in Indonesia, and prior to that, with the Australian Treasury, including as part of the Treasury’s China Policy Unit. Brendan holds a Masters of International Development Economics from the Australian National University and Bachelors of Commerce and Arts from the University of Melbourne.