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Unaffordable Houisng In Melbourne Essay

1991 words - 8 pages

Within the housing market in Melbourne, and indeed throughout Australian cities, house prices have been rapidly rising to a level where today there is a severe lack of housing that is affordable to homebuyers on a median wage. In Melbourne, this has staggeringly seen the median house price to soar over $500,000. As will be put forth in this paper, the role of the planning system is undoubtedly a key protagonist for this lack of affordable housing. Within the data and evidence examined, it will be highlighted how the planning approval process with its, excessive ‘red tape’, inefficiencies and inconsistencies as well as other aspects of the statutory planning system in Melbourne, have undoubtedly been a major barrier to ensuring housing prices become more affordable. However, before these arguments holding the planning process chiefly responsible for the housing affordability crises are put forward, we will consider some other explanations that point to broader economic and urban policies. Moreover, the paper will consider the ways in which planning regulation influences the supply side of the housing market by restricting access to land and making ownership an unattainable goal for median income earners in Melbourne and other Australian cities.

Throughout the world, affordable housing remains a significant issue in dealing with the economies of cities and regions. Within the property market in Melbourne this is most certainly the case, with a recent study showing Melbourne to be 321st on a list of 325 most affordable world property markets . Moreover, according to another study carried out by Monash University population expert Bob Birrell and VicUrban market research director Colin Keane, at the end of last year, only three of every ten lots for sale in new housing estates across Australia were accessible to average-income first home buyers. Much of this can be related to the simple reality that there is a significant gap between demand and supply in the housing market. As is the case within the Melbourne market, there are more people who want to purchase homes in most areas than there are homes to buy. This increased demand has pushed prices up, and those who can afford to outbid others will become the homeowners, whilst the rest, who are on medium and lower incomes, will remain in the rental market. The demand in the Melbourne housing market has been growing rapidly as a result of a strong immigration numbers to the city, with population growing at its fastest rate in 40 years.

One challenge to extending the availability of affordable housing, that is evident within the metropolitan strategic plans of all five of Australia’s largest capitals, is the existence of the ‘urban growth boundary’. In the Victorian State Government’s 2003 planning strategy “Melbourne 2030 - Planning for Sustainable Growth”, the urban growth boundary represents a significant challenge for housing affordability within an urban system that is characterized by...

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