I’ve been at public hearings over the last three days for the Senate Committee inquiry into Housing Affordability. I won’t give running commentaries on all the evidence presented here. Anyone wanting to engage in some online discussion on some policy specifics might want to visit Possum Pollytics, which has a few posts on the topic. One of those pointed to a recent easy to read and fairly short speech on the Reserve Bank’s site which gives not too bad an overview.
Next week the Committee is in Karratha in regional WA, as well as Perth. This should help give a greater insight to the different nature of the affordability problem in different areas. Yesterday the Committee had a hearing at Campbelltown, in Sydney’s south-west. Affordability is a huge problem there – more so than the inner city – but supply of land is not the problem. I suspect people have different understandings when they hear terms like supply and demand (not to mention affordability). The interplay between supply and demand is very complex when it comes to housing affordability, not least because we have a multitude of different housing markets, and a number of wider planning and design issues which impact on it. However, suffice to say that its seems to me that the notion being repeatedly pushing by property developers and related industries that affordability is mostly a supply problem, and increasing the global supply of land for housing will ensure existing demand pressures are reduced is a very simplistic view.