Working for permanent solutions in Australia
Commissioned by Habitat Australia, the report “Rediscovering the Great Australian Dream” addresses the urgent need to improve homeownership for families with low incomes. While public housing is an important response to the demand for affordable housing, the report demonstrates that a “social homeownership” model — combined with land release and planning and zoning reforms — could alleviate pressure on resources and provide permanent solutions.
“Social homeownership” targets low- and middle-income groups by combining grant funding to purchase housing sites, the “sweat equity” of homebuyers assisting in their homes’ construction and participation from community volunteers.
Among the report’s findings:
- More than 170,000 Australians are on public housing waiting lists; the country suffers a shortage of more than 500,000 affordable properties.
- Households are almost always better off buying than renting, even if initial savings (from renting) are invested, according to a 2010 study.
- Affordability is a particular challenge for younger Australians: “An increasing proportion of those born after 1970 will never get on the property ladder.
The report advocates for the development of a program involving government and private sectors that potentially could unlock economic activity worth seven times the initial investment.
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