Public housing at Rosemeadow in the south west of Sydney. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts.
Australia is facing a massive housing shortfall that won’t be met unless governments ramp up affordable home building tenfold, a new report warns.
The figures, contained in the latest report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) out Thursday, warned the country would need an estimated 727,300 additional social housing dwellings in the next two decades – with the current shortfall sitting at 433,000 homes.
Report co-author Dr Laurence Troy from UNSW Sydney found that the number of public housing units built by Australian governments had shrunk significantly from a level between 8,000 to 14,000 new public housing units a year 40 years ago to minimal construction rates now.
The report estimates Australia needs an estimated 727,300 additional social housing dwellings in the next two decades. Picture: Jodie Richter.
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“Australian governments have been recently funding only around 3,000 new social housing units per year, we estimate that output of about 15,000 is needed just to stop the existing shortfall from getting even bigger. To fix the current problem as well, over a 20 year period, calls for a ten-fold increase.”
The New South Wales government sold off several public housing properties four years ago, including this one at Millers Point at The Rocks which fetched $2.56m.
Dr Troy said lack of affordable housing was a serious problem for many Australian families.
“A renewed social housing program should boost output to a level similar to that seen in the early post-war period when state governments were building about one in seven new homes in Australia.”
The report which saw researchers from RMIT and UNSW Sydney also explore the best options to meet public housing shortfalls urged government to move towards capital grant funding as it was the most cost effective option.
“The lifetime cost is $1.6 billion less, or a 24 per cent direct saving to the public purse, compared with a commercially-financed program supported through revenue subsidy,” Dr Troy said.
The research found that more than a fifth of all housebuilding in places like the UK, Finland, France and Australia were by “housing providers with a social purpose”.
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