Housing affordability is an undeniable problem for young Australians.
Everyone knows this – except if you’re in the government, perhaps. Who could forget Joe Hockey’s infamous suggestion to young people struggling to buy a home: “Just go and get a better paying job,” he suggested.
Because it’s that simple.
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A parliamentary inquiry was established to investigate housing affordability and now two years later, no recommendations or suggested policy changes have come out of it.
Greens MP Adam Bandt, not one to mince his words, says people are “getting screwed”.
“The Government refuses to admit there’s a problem, let alone take any steps to make housing more affordable,” he rants.
And he’s one hundred per cent right. It’s a huge problem when we have interest rates as low as they are now and buying a home is still hugely unaffordable to the average family.
On the weekend I visited some friends who have relocated to Canungra. They were paying $400 a week to rent a cramped three-bedroom townhouse in Varsity Lakes, but with three kids, they’d outgrown the home. They can’t afford to spend any more than that per week, if they want to have a hope of saving up a house deposit, so they’ve moved to the bush.
In Canungra, $400 buys them a four-bedroom house with a backyard and a pool. It’s a fantastic lifestyle – but it’s come at a cost.
They’re now 45 minutes drive, through windy roads, from their places of work. They’ve had to move their kids to brand new schools. Socially, it’s going to be an effort; there’s no ‘popping past for a playdate’ when it’s a 90-minute round trip.
They’re both public servants. They’re hardworking Gold Coasters. They spend all of their free time and money on their kids and they don’t have extravagant spending habits or overseas holidays every year.
And at best, they are a good five years off owning their own home.
How is this okay?
Adam Bandt is right; Aussies are getting screwed over housing affordability. And it’s not going to change any time soon.