Get use to smaller houses, and stop whinging about it

Housing affordability continues to be a pebble in every politician’s shoe. Maybe it is time to adjust our expectations.


In the lead up to the federal election, housing affordability continues to be a really hot topic.

Just today there are articles across the press stating that the Howard Government risks a damaging backlash in a series of marginal seats as high rents eat into household incomes.

But what people need to understand is that the Federal Government can’t pull any more levers on housing.

Interest rates are decided by the Reserve Bank and there are already home owner grants schemes. Meanwhile it is the state governments, not Federal Government, that decides on zoning and infrastructure.

All that could be done has been done. What has to change is people’s expectations.

Home owners need to be realistic. Many people must get use to the idea of living in smaller houses or apartments. This means there will be more apartments. Where homes are old, they will be pulled down and converted into apartments. Vacant land will be turned into more apartments. We will also see smaller apartments and cheaper ones.

Future generations will get used to apartment living and higher density living. If people want to afford the product, the product must be cheaper. Otherwise they must be prepared to pay the high prices for inner city living.

The debate has been around for too long – how do you reduce the cost of existing housing so it is affordable. The answer is that standards have to change.

The community must accept more modest standards: that is the real challenge that lies ahead.

And consider this: there are all these four bedroom homes. In Victoria there are 25,000 bedrooms never used and 3000 homeless people.

More food for thought.


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