House prices hurting Australia and nation's policies making it worse

Increased housing prices are what must happen when a high level of immigration hits land-use rigidities. It is time that some categories of immigration were cut back. Australia has already done its fair share of taking "refugees" for instance. With both Greenies and Nimbys intent on freezing land use, freeing up land for new residential construction is politically difficult.

The explanations given below for the problem are just ignorant Leftism -- a chance to trot out their usual myths. I note some in the text

The massive jump in the cost of buying or renting a house is having a profoundly negative impact on Australia, and policies imposed by Canberra and state governments are making the problem worse, a housing expert has warned.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday released Australia's Welfare 2015, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's latest two-yearly national welfare report card.

The detailed snapshot of the health and wellbeing of Australians found the country is doing well in education and health, although there were serious areas of inequity for some indigenous Australians, some elderly and disabled people, those with a disability and people with a mental illness.

The report also showed a big jump in the number of Australians in housing stress, with more people renting and a dramatic fall in the number of people who own their homes outright.

It found an increasing proportion of young Australians still living with their parents into their mid-20s.

The report shows the great Australian dream becoming an unattainable fantasy for more people. Australian homes are the third-least affordable of OECD countries with only New Zealand and Canada having a higher price-to-income ratio.

There has also been a big jump in the number of people either living in social housing, or on a waiting list for a place. The number of homeless Australians has jumped, with a quarter of a million Australians accessing specialist homelessness services in 2014, the report said –a 4 per cent rise in a single year.

Australia's housing market is becoming increasingly unaffordable, according to Kate Shaw, an urban geographer at Melbourne University and a planning and housing expert.

"This is not a natural consequence of the increase in living and health standards documented in the report," Dr Shaw said. "The severe unaffordability of housing in Australia is due to poor policy decisions and could have been avoided. This is not part and parcel of being a wealthy country."

In the year to July, Melbourne house prices climbed 10.2 per cent, Sydney 16.2 per cent, and national capital average prices by 9.8 per cent.

Asked which other wealthy countries around the world had avoided such dramatic house price rises in recent years, Dr Shaw said: "All of them, except perhaps Canada, which suffers from the same problems.  "The drivers there are the same – both Australia and Canada are regarded as very safe places to invest."

She said there should be better legislated protection for renters, who now make up a third of all households, and the federal government must remove tax concessions and incentives for investors. [More protection for renters will WORSEN the problem.  It must and always does]

"Specifically negative gearing and the 50 per cent discount on capital gains tax," she said.  "If these were phased out we would have billions of dollars every year to invest in affordable social, community and public housing." [And largely destroy private construction for rental.  The woman is a Leftist  ignoramus]

There was, Dr Shaw said, "A whole layer of low to medium-income housing arrangements provided in Canada and Germany and so many other places in the world that we have just completely ignored – they don't exist in Australia. And because we don't have them, it is increasing the pressure on the private rental market."

The report found that the proportion of people in rental stress, in which households pay more than one-third of their income on accommodation, rose from 35 per cent in 2007-08 to 41 per cent in 2011-12.

And it did not get much easier for mortgage payers, the report found. "Households with low to moderate incomes who manage to acquire their own homes sometimes cut back on necessities in order to meet mortgage repayments, especially in the early years." [So what else is new?]

A majority of over-65s own a home outright but the proportion has fallen from 78 per cent in 2002 to 71 per cent in 2011.

Higher living costs are associated with an increase in the rise in the rate of people working past retirement age.  The proportion of Australians aged 55-64 who have retired fell from 49 per cent to 26 per cent between 1997 and 2012–13 and from 93 per cent to 77 per cent for those aged 65 and over.

Kerry Flanagan, acting director of the AIHW, said Australians were living longer and were healthier in senior years.  "Adult participation in the labour force is higher than 20 years ago, and while some people are staying at work longer after retirement, the majority of older Australians are not using aged-care services," she said.

Ms Flanagan said other issues flagged in the report included increases in children receiving child protection services, youth unemployment and the proportion of young people who are not in employment, education or training.

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