Housing Shortage in Inner City a Myth
2,317 properties have been found empty in central Melbourne during Australia’s worst ever housing crisis.
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“The 2008 I Want to Live Here report has found a 7% genuine vacancy rate in the inner city as compared to the much publicised 0.9% vacancy rate. The reported rate is a shocking one tenth of the genuine vacancy rate that speculators withhold from the market” said report author Tohm Curtis.
“At least $1 billion in vacant property exists in the inner city, and over $10 billion in Greater Melbourne.”
“The suburb of Carlton alone has sufficient vacancies to house all 220 reported homeless students at Melbourne Uni” said Mr Curtis.
“Last week the Housing Industry Association tried to claim that land supply is the cause of rising housing prices. Yet the 90,000 blocks opened up by Brumby earlier this year, on top of the 38,000 existing empty blocks of land held by Australia’s 6 biggest developers, have done nothing to curb rising land prices. Obviously there is another factor at play and our report demonstrates that it is speculation.” stated Project Coordinator Karl Fitzgerald.
“Brumby’s 2030 expansion is nothing more than a handout to property speculators. What he should focus on is tax reform to ensure that existing housing is used for living rather than the ‘laughing all the way to the bank mentality’ that land speculation enables.”
“Council budgets are stressed by further infrastructure expansions when existing residentially zoned land should be further utilised.”
“The least we should be doing to tackle climate change is to ensure that people are living as close to their places of employment as possible. It makes no sense for packed suburban trains and busy roads to be driving past vacant property after vacant property when there is space for people to live close enough to walk and cycle to work and school.” said Mr Fitzgerald.
“These speculative vacancies are unacknowledged by economists and politicians despite being reported in the Census as recently as 2006. Government should rely on its own reliable sources of information instead of using figures provided by the real estate industry. The REIV and Australian Property Monitors regularly report vacancies of 0.7-0.9%, based on those properties up for rent.” claimed Mr Curtis.
“These speculative vacancies exist because government policy reinforces this speculative behaviour. Policy at all levels of government have been designed to keep the housing bubble inflated” said Mr Curtis.
The I Want To Live Here report calls for genuine tax reform as the only means to ensure long term housing affordability and ensure future Boom Bust cycles are avoided. Higher and flatter holding taxes on land should be implemented to balance out the advantage that property speculation has over all other forms of business.
* 2,317 vacant properties in inner Melbourne.
* 18,070 vacant properties in CityWest Water’s client base of Greater Melbourne.
* $1,044,967,000 worth of vacant property in the inner city.
* If 44 of the 2,317 vacant properties were leased or sold per week it would take over a year to clear the backlog.
* If this extra supply of housing was to hit the market the price of housing would become more affordable.
* Government policies of all levels are critiqued and fall short on many levels.
Read the Full Report (PDF 432kb)
For questions or comments please contact:
Tohm Curtis, Researcher, Report Author, 0416 313 273, email@example.com
Karl Fitzgerald, Project Coordinator, (03) 9670 2754, firstname.lastname@example.org