Dallas Rogers: Housing Affordability



Housing affordability- what the hell does that second word even mean? In fact, it’s especially accurate when you think about how little most people can afford to rent a property in Sydney where we operate this blog from. When you can barely afford to rent in a city where the competitiveness of investors, first home buyers and everyone in between intersects- the last thing you think about is even thinking of buying in this city.

Here in Sydney, new suburbs are sprawling all the time- complete with developments, schools and pure promise that these new areas of Sydney has what it takes to keep them in touch with the big city and the vital services. Here’s just a small example:

Daily Telegraph: Menangle Park

35,000 homes that will be new to suburbs you’ve never even heard of! The government hopes it will alleviate house prices in the old demand/supply law terms. However, the opposition claims poor planning would have made no difference anyway because no one can get to anywhere from anywhere anyway! At least, it’s the first land release in a decade- well overdue.

However, it should be noted that many of these new suburbs are also not the safest- with areas of Western Sydney often in the media for those affected by drive by shootings, thefts etc. 961 of them in Liverpool in the year to September 2015 alone, according to The Daily Telegraph.

As we discussed on The Daily this morning with Dallas Rogers (kudos to Sean, my boss and announcer for nailing it again!), housing affordability is sometimes just about how view land and real estate. According to the UNSW Sydney Housing Affordability Index, only one (count them, one) suburb in Sydney became more affordable in the ten years between 2005 and 2015- which also happens to be the ten year period I have been living in Australia.

Surprisingly, most of the desirable areas of Sydney- namely the Northern Beaches and Bondi seem to mostly remain the same in the relative affordability index- but of course, this doesn’t take into account the pain of inflation. Remember- your money is worth more today than it will be in a year because of exactly that. Which means that $3 million property may not change too much in value or in volume sold but it’s still $3 million- which you may have come close to ten years ago but now may very well be far from achieving. This point is much worth considering.

To tell you the truth, I grew up fairly well off- so to say that “poverty makes me sick” rightly would get a judgment from you, the discerning reader of “have you ever even seen it in your life?”. The truth of that is- no. However, as relatively well off and spoken as I am, I still can’t afford a property in Sydney or its suburbs. In fact, at any rate, I’ll be paying $100 a week every week for about 80 years to secure a property.

Without inflation.

So- what in hell does affordability mean? I wasn’t asking you to find a dictionary definition at all- in fact I was just honestly spilling out what many other young people will be thinking of their future. Finding a house? Pfft. Let’s just hope for somewhere to have a roof over our head. That’s what affordability means, right about now.


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Photo Credit: Domain Magazine, The Sydney Morning Herald

Some statistics provided by the UNSW Sydney Housing Affordability Index and The Daily Telegraph. Dallas Rogers joined us as a guest of the Walkley Foundation and of Western Sydney University.

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