Labor can’t easily fix the housing crisis. It’s designed not to be

To truly address Australia’s housing crisis, the government is going to have to confront one of its fears: hurting the rich.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Image: AAP/Diego Fedele)
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Image: AAP/Diego Fedele)

I once booked the late, great Australian housing economist Judith Yates for a speaking engagement. After a fascinating discussion ranging across her four decades of research in Australian housing, I cut to the chase: will houses ever become affordable again? After all, they can’t get more expensive forever, right?

Yates shook her head. Rather sadly, she explained that house price inflation was so baked into Australian policy settings that it was difficult to see how housing could quickly become more affordable. She dismissed any chance of a US-style housing crash: she thought that it had become almost an article of faith among policymakers that property prices had to be supported. Yates felt very sorry for younger generations, she told me. Things were likely to get worse, not better.

That was years ago, well before the pandemic. Things have indeed worsened for younger Australians — and anyone else who isn’t lucky enough to possess their own dwelling.

Read more about how to truly address Australia’s housing crisis.

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