How do Australia’s young people want to live?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/01/2020 - 11:40am in

Something that Councils always ask about is what type of housing do people really want to live in, as opposed to what they are living in? There is often the suspicion that people are living in housing that is not their first choice, and that the market is not providing what households are truly looking for.

This is especially the case with young people. So I thought I’d start by having a look at how young people, those aged 18-24 years, in Australia are living. I can almost hear lots of you answering this question for yourselves – at home with mum and dad!

For this age group, that’s pretty much spot on. Across Australia, 55% of people aged 18 to 24 years are living with their parents or a guardian. This is generally due to many of them continuing into post school education and having lower incomes. However, this trend does differ between the states. In Northern Territory, 41% of young people live with their parents, compared to 60% in New South Wales.

Living arrangements of 18 to 24 year olds, Australia, 2016

Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

How do those going it alone live?

For those who are living independently – as a couple, in a group household or lone person – the types of housing they live in may come as a bit of a surprise. Many people think that the majority of young people live in flats or apartments – however, this is not the case. Just over half of all young people living independently in Australia live in a separate dwelling, generally with 3 or 4 bedrooms. A further 30% live in apartments. Of course, there is likely to be geographic differences in this trend – in inner city areas, the proportion of young people living in apartments is likely to be much higher.

Housing consumption patterns of independent 18 to 24 year olds, Australia, 2016

Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016

It’s probably also worth noting at this point that just over two thirds of 18-24 year olds that live independently are renters. Again, this is likely due to their lower incomes, having just started in the workforce.

Is this what they truly want to be living in?

The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute recently undertook the Australian Housing Aspirations survey with the goal of answering this question. The survey found that young people’s short term housing aspirations were more around location (being close to education and employment) and tenure security (not having to move after every 12 month lease), and not so much concerned about dwelling type or tenure type. Many of the quotes shared from survey respondents and follow up interviews gave the impression that young people were aware the trade-offs they were making. The survey also looked at long term housing aspirations of this age group, to which the majority of the respondents stated they would like to purchase a 3 bedroom, separate house. However, very few were actively planning for this future and were waiting to consolidate their careers and relationships.

While these sorts of insights are unfortunately not available at an LGA level, Australia wide surveys do shed some light on the types of aspirations young people living in your area may have. You can always find out more about how young people in your area are currently living. Interested? Check out the services on offer from our housing team.

Assessing progress on St. John’s Plan to End Homelessness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 30/12/2019 - 1:25am in

I’ve written an assessment of the 2014-2019 St. John’s Community Plan to End Homelessness. The full assessment can be found here.

Points raised in the assessment include the following:

-Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest unemployment rate of any Canadian province. This pulls people into homelessness, while also making it more challenging for the provincial government to finance policy asks (such as subsidized housing with social work support).

-People interviewed as part of the assessment process expressed concern over the fact that nearly 40% of emergency shelter beds in St. John’s are run by for-profit providers (but paid for by the provincial government).

-The Trudeau government increased annual federal funding for homelessness (beginning with the 2016 federal budget) and this has been helpful at the local level in St. John’s (just as these increased federal funding levels helped other communities across Canada address homelessness).

-One promising development in Newfoundland and Labrador has been new child welfare legislation allowing youth to continue receiving care until the age of 21 (it used to be 18).

Assessing progress on St. John’s Plan to End Homelessness

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 30/12/2019 - 1:25am in

I’ve written an assessment of the 2014-2019 St. John’s Community Plan to End Homelessness. The full assessment can be found here.

Points raised in the assessment include the following:

-Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest unemployment rate of any Canadian province. This pulls people into homelessness, while also making it more challenging for the provincial government to finance policy asks (such as subsidized housing with social work support).

-People interviewed as part of the assessment process expressed concern over the fact that nearly 40% of emergency shelter beds in St. John’s are run by for-profit providers (but paid for by the provincial government).

-The Trudeau government increased annual federal funding for homelessness (beginning with the 2016 federal budget) and this has been helpful at the local level in St. John’s (just as these increased federal funding levels helped other communities across Canada address homelessness).

-One promising development in Newfoundland and Labrador has been new child welfare legislation allowing youth to continue receiving care until the age of 21 (it used to be 18).

Helping Make Housing Affordable with “Non-Intrusive Joint Ownership”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/12/2019 - 4:02am in

We have been trying Foundation Housing with an apartment building in San Francisco, and while we like that structure for many reasons, we are now trying something else, this time more personal that others might want to try: joint ownership of a house. The couple times we have tried it with friends and family, they have credited this with allowing them to stay in the expensive Bay Area, so deemed a success. It has also not changed our relationship with these friends and family (as would being their landlord or bank) which has been what we wanted.

We are trying “non-intrusive joint ownership” of houses by owning a stake in a house that others live in. It is non-intrusive since it is a “silent” ownership share. This is distinct from co-signing on a mortgage and reverse mortgages in ways I will touch on later.

Let me explain our current approach, and please, if you have further ideas please comment below.

It could be any % of the house, but we have tried 50%, so I will describe it that way. A lawyer has written the documents to make this work.

It is structured as a “tenancy in common,” where each owns half the house, let’s call one the “Resident Owners,” and the other the “Equity Owner.” The Equity Owner pays the owner (could be the Resident Owner or the seller) one half of the value of the house based on current appraisal, purchase price, or something agreed upon. Then each owns half of the house and this is registered with the deed with the county. We have not tried this, but the Resident Owners could mortgage their half if they wanted to, but the bank would not have a claim on the Equity Owner’s share. We have discouraged mortgages because of how they have gone wrong, but we believe it is possible in this structure.

The Resident Owners uses the whole house and pays all the taxes and upkeep (and is required to keep it up). If there are any additions or improvements, it does not change the half-half share. 

This whole arrangement is unwound when the house is sold and the proceeds are split half-half, or the house can be appraised and the Resident Owner can buy out the Equity Owner’s share. The sale happens when the Resident Owners decide to sell the property, the Resident Owner dies, or, if owned by a couple, when the later of the original Resident Owners dies. Therefore the Equity Owner can not force the Resident Owners to sell, unless, I guess, if the Resident Owners default on their obligations.

To grant it stability to both parties, the Residential Ownership share is not inheritable and is non-transferable and has to be their primary residence. This makes sense to us, as the Equity Owner, since we wanted to help these particular people stay in the Bay Area. In another step towards stability, the Equity Owner’s interest is not transferable either, when the later of my spouse and I die, then the share goes to our family foundation. This non-transferability of the Equity Owner stake is based on my bad experience, decades ago, of my student loan being sold by my town’s savings and loan bank to an aggressive lender.

This has turned out to be non-intrusive, and in fact, pretty invisible: after it is set it up there have not been discussions about it. This is how we have wanted it: to help our friends and family but not change the nature of our relationship.

This differs from co-signing someone’s mortgage as that approach does not decrease payments for the Residential Owner except, perhaps, to make it so they could get an favorable mortgage in the first place. It also differs in that the co-signer takes on the risk of default bringing in an entanglement we wished to avoid.

This differs from reverse mortgages in that it is a share of the house, where a reverse mortgage is a loan that is secured by the house. Loans have interest, and fees, and if you fail to pay, you lose your house. There are many stories of these going wrong. Where this joint ownership structure will surely have ways it goes wrong, we have not found them yet.

If you have experiences with this, or have any questions, please write in a comment below.

100 Years of Urban Housing Success

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 21/12/2019 - 7:12am in

Around the world, the cost of housing is destabilizing cities. In Europe, low interest rates meant to spur growth have caused an affordability crisis. American cities are sprouting the kinds of slums usually associated with the developing world. Some have even argued that Hong Kong’s protests are, in reality, about a real estate market that has gotten so expensive young folks have essentially no chance of getting their own place.

What can be done? How can cities make sure that people other than the wealthy can find a foothold? A few places have shown that affordability is possible. One is Vienna, Austria.

A century of affordable housing

A hundred years ago, in 1919, Vienna decided to do something about its shortage of low-cost housing for blue-collar workers and creative types. It began constructing publicly financed housing under a model that, over the years, has evolved into a system that works incredibly well. Far from being “projects,” “council houses,” or “schemies,” this is housing built by the best architects, where, over time, people of all income levels have come to live. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close.

Today, 62 percent of Vienna residents live in this “social housing.” (In New York, where I live, about eight percent of residents call public housing home.) This is a city that has, for many years running, been voted one of the most livable large cities in the world. Clearly they’re doing something right.

The Reumann-Hof, built in 1923 and named for Vienna’s first Social Democratic mayor Jakob Reumann, was one of the city’s early social housing endeavors. To this day, it’s a sought-after place to live. Credit: Payton Chung/Flickr

The historical housing “problem”

Cities need a mix of residents and a fair amount of density for folks to energize and be inspired by one another… and for the city to function well. Yet many have struggled to provide the housing needed to achieve this. When people are priced out, as many are  these days, cities become less livable, less innovative and over time, less productive. 

My daughter’s friends — mostly creative types, furniture makers, artists and the like — have been driven to the edges of Brooklyn, seeking places where they can work and live, and still have access to the resources of the city. Most of them, she now tells me, are giving up and looking for places upstate. Being an artist or creative type has often necessitated some hardships, but this trend is not just “it’s tough for creatives” — it’s the result of policy decisions. 

The lobby of Cabrini Green, a dilapidated Chicago housing project that was torn down between 1995 and 2011. Credit: Milt Hill

The long history of white flight and of cities emptied out by suburban-oriented car-friendly policies has proven this. Famously, in places like the U.S., attempts to build quality low-income housing have fallen short when the political will to manage the details has failed to materialize. Affordable housing was viewed as a handout and not something critical to a city’s lifeblood.

Pruitt-Igoe, a massive housing project in St. Louis, fell victim to poor maintenance and crime. It was demolished in the 1970s. Credit: Renato Saboya/Flickr

Cities seeking alternatives to their present predicament might want to look to Vienna, which has demonstrated a century of success with its subsidized social housing model. Below is a social housing complex by the artist and designer Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who famously hated straight lines. He once said, “The straight line is godless and immoral.” That may be a bit extreme, but his other dictums — that windows must be within arm’s reach, for example — are admirable. 

Credit: Martin Abegglen

Hundertwasser’s social housing complex has become a tourist attraction — some of the band and I went there while on tour in 2001. It’s both wacky and wonderful. The floors and walls are as uneven as the exterior. Who wouldn’t want to have an apartment there? It totally destroys our preconceived ideas about social housing — that it will inevitably be drab, cookie-cutter and somewhat degrading. 

From the New York Times on January 8, 1987, just after this apartment building opened:

Many tenants, who were admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, are young people with families (”older people are a bit anxious about living like this,” Mr. Roettinger [a city spokesman] explained). Tenants pay an initial $20,000 deposit, which is partly refundable, plus a monthly rent averaging around $100. Couples whose joint income exceeds $25,500 are not eligible.

Credit: R. Halfpaap

That was in 1987, but it shows one of Vienna’s key social housing policies: low income folks are often the first tenants, but if their financial lot improves they are not kicked out. So they stay.

Vienna is still building social housing to this day. Despite the recent rise of politicians who might not be as inclined to support this system, it continues to thrive. My friend Stefan Sagmeister, an artist who recently had an exhibition in Vienna, said that these days a 1,000-square-foot apartment in social housing goes for about 190 euros a month. And public transportation is close by.

Credit: Einszueins Architektur

In fact, middle-class Viennese are now welcome to apply for subsidized social housing, and if their income rises they can stay in the same apartment, which helps create mixed-income buildings. You might think all these newly middle-class folks would eventually crowd out the low-income applicants, but because the city keeps building more of these there are plenty of new apartments to be had. The nearby public transportation that serves these communities is essential to their success, as well. 

Although housing in the relatively small city center (inside the Ringstrasse) is mostly expensive luxury apartments, social housing projects are more or less scattered throughout the rest of Vienna. Within each neighborhood, and even within each building, one can find tenants from a wide range of economic circumstances. As the city’s councilor for housing told the Huffington Post, “You can’t tell how much someone earns simply by looking at their home address.”

So, here are a couple of the major public housing issues solved: availability of apartments, and mixed incomes within the neighborhoods and often within the same building. 

How did this happen? How does it work?

A century ago, Austria was catching up with the wave of industrialization that had swept Europe, and folks from all over the former Habsburg Empire were flocking to Vienna in search of work. After World War I,  so many people were moving to Vienna that there wasn’t enough housing for all of them. Some began building shanty settlements outside the city — squatters in the suburbs, basically. They built their own blocks and streets, and farmed the available land. In the city proper, folks were sleeping in shifts in crowded apartments. At that time, only wealthy men could vote, many of whom were landlords. So there were few safeguards, rights or options for tenants. 

After the war, everyone was given the right to vote. This changed everything. Folks began demanding a right to housing, and the new voters supported the left-wing Social Democrats. The party got 54 percent of the vote, and once in power, they passed a rent control law that also gave the city the right to take over vacant property. Rent control can have the effect of reducing the availability of housing, as developers can’t see a way to profit with rents suppressed, and that happened in Vienna, too. As available land went undeveloped and became cheaper, the city bought it up and began to build subsidized housing.

They solicited highly skilled, innovative architects, so the buildings were nice, and though the early apartments were small, there were lots of amenities that people had never had access to before: laundries, gardens, nurseries, playgrounds, libraries, counseling offices, rooms for political gathering and debate (!!), courtyards and even kindergartens.

Karl Marx-Hof is one of Vienna’s best-known social housing complexes. At over half a mile long, it has four streetcar stops and is one of the longest residential buildings in the world. Credit: Diego BIS/Flickr

Although these projects began in the suburbs, the city ultimately bought parcels of land all over Vienna. As a result, social housing was not clustered in any one area. It became part of the fabric of the city.

How were these paid for?

“Red Vienna,” as the city was known in the ‘20s for its pro-worker, socialist mindset, had no problem accepting tax schemes to pay for all this. Capital gains taxes, luxury taxes and a progressive housing tax that ranged from two percent for workers’ housing up to 55 percent for luxury apartments provided plenty of funding for the city’s social housing program.

All of this, though very successful, was put on hold from the mid-1930s until 1945 when the Social Democratic Party was banned under Nazi rule. When it started up again after World War II, the city partnered with banks and insurance companies to create what it called not-for-profit housing. After a period of 1960s cookie-cutter construction, the city refocused on design, and began helping developers not only build new apartments, but renovate the older buildings that were beginning to decay. Vienna instituted a process whereby development corporations compete to build housing that is aesthetically pleasing, environmentally sound, and of course, reasonably priced. 

Credit: Lloyd Alter

Can we emulate the Viennese model?

Pretty damn tricky to copy the Viennese model, given all the historical contingencies! The above sequence of events and initiatives is fairly complex, and each seems to play a part in the success of the whole housing plan. The city stepping in to purchase land when rent control created opportunities — that takes a lot of political will.

Some things that have allowed this policy to persevere are clear, however. First, folks feel that the taxes they’re paying for social housing are fair. It also helps that they know they can stay in their apartments even if their income rises, and their rents are about one-quarter what they might be in other large cities like Paris, so progressive taxation is not viewed as arduous.  Land ownership is key, as well — cities might want to be very careful about selling off their land, often their most valuable asset. Voting rights were crucial, too — though this might seem unrelated, everything changed when everyone could vote. (1919 was the first year all women were allowed to vote in Vienna.) Lastly, it took a realization that the free market and social housing are not at odds. They can work together — there is a partnership here. There’s a difference between social housing and socialist housing.

Can others copy some of what Vienna has achieved? I’d say that since much of the social housing in Vienna is the result of long-term policies and a fortuitous series of events, simply copying Vienna might not be possible. But one can still learn from what they have done, and copy parts of the Viennese model when opportunity arises. Most of all, I would offer that what we can learn here is that our housing problem is not unsolvable, that public housing does not have to mean dull and neglected projects (I would bet money that most Americans wouldn’t guess the buildings pictured above are social housing), and that a city benefits in thousands of different ways from enlightened housing policies. We get back more than we give.

The next article in this series will be about Singapore, another city with an enlightened housing policy — but a VERY different story.

The post 100 Years of Urban Housing Success appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

Workers are Paying for the Bosses' Crisis

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 16/12/2019 - 12:56am in

image/jpeg iconfoodbank.jpg

For years now the whole Brexit issue has diverted attention from the declining quality of life experienced by the working class in the aftermath of the financial crash. Now we have an election campaign where Labour and the Conservatives are vying to outdo each other as to how much they will increase state spending in order to end austerity. Labour's plans for a kind of soft nationalisation (a sort of John Lewis employee share scheme, “when the market will allow it”) and Boris' gob shite about the NHS (as the break-up continues) are not going to alter the fact that the working class is paying for capitalism's crisis.

...we don't believe any of the political parties' claims to have the formula for a better life because we know that today's world is the outcome of decades of capitalist crisis: a crisis which will not go away.


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Changing rental costs – not always the story you expect

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:04am in



household types

In today’s blog, Georgia takes a look at the change in median weekly rental costs in South Australia and Victoria. She discovers things are not always as the media would have you believe. If you’re interested in learning more about the private rental market in your local area, our housing team might be able to help you.

The private rental market is a tricky beast to understand. While the sales market gets a lot of media coverage, in terms of current pricing levels and growth, the private market gets very little coverage. This is a shame, as it’s such an important part of our housing market, providing housing for a wide range of people for a wide range of reasons. It also provides housing options for some of Australia’s more vulnerable people, those on lower incomes. Understanding the pricing points and growth in the private rental market is vital to understanding how the market is providing for these people.

So I thought, for my last blog of the year, I’d make some maps to have a look at the geographic spread of the change in rental costs. I’ve had a look at the change in median weekly rent between June 30 2018 and June 30 2019 in South Australia and Victoria. And I found a story I didn’t really expect.

Looking at South Australia to start, you can see that there have been significant increases in weekly rent in the regional areas of the state – especially those with significant population centres such as Port Augusta, Whyalla and Ceduna. There has been some rental growth within Adelaide itself, but not to the extent of the regional areas. It’s also important to understand the value change too – some regional areas such as Mid Murray, have had rent increases of $40 a week.

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A similar story is evident in Victoria, with many regional areas seeing significant increases in median rent over the 12 month period. The largest increases have been in Queenscliffe, Moyne and Southern Grampians. Some areas within Greater Melbourne have also seen significant increases in rent, such as Bayside and Greater Dandenong.

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The moral of the story? Don’t forget about those living in regional areas! They are struggling with increasing housing costs, not just those living in urban areas like the media would have you believe.


Finger on the pulse: New headline housing indicators for City of Knox using housing.id

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/11/2019 - 6:00am in

With our new online housing product housing.id almost 1 year old, we’ve had the chance to work with a number of councils to improve the tool to help them achieve their goals.

One of those is City of Knox, who are heavily invested in a monitoring approach to their community planning. As monitoring is one of the main benefits we designed housing.id for, we thought Knox would be a natural fit for a case study about how the tool is being applied in the real world.

To learn more about the work that the housing team do with councils, visit the housing team page.


The City of Knox, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs was looking for a set of housing indicators for their State of Knox report, a visual, data-driven summary to inform decision makers and community consultation leading into the creation of the city’s community plan.

Every 5 years, the City Research and Mapping team creates the State of Knox report by drawing together and analysing a set of headline indicators across the facets covering Social, Economic, Environmental and Cultural characteristics of the city.

Approaching the next report in 2020, the team realised they had a gap in their housing indicators, and were on the hunt for datasets which they could confidently use and rely on through future 5-year cycles of monitoring the city.

A gap in housing indicators

The big gaps for the team were:

  • Measuring housing affordability. Tracking private rentals and sales and what’s affordable by households on lower incomes.
  • Data about households in income bands prescribed in the Victorian Government’s Planning Scheme (very low, low and moderate households)


The solution for Knox was housing.id, .id’s new online housing monitor. Delivered as a website alongside the City of Knox’s other .id tools, it could provide an easy-to-use, visual set of housing indicators that quickly bring people up to speed on the housing story of the area.

Through 34 indicators over 4 easy to use ‘lenses’, the housing monitor has delivered the City of Knox the indicators they need to inform their State of Knox report now and into the future.

Browse the City of Knox housing monitor.

Private rental affordability
The housing monitor delivers more precise measures of affordability, calculated using up-to-date housing market prices against what is affordable by households on different income bands. Delivered as LGA and small area figures enables deeper, local level analysis of affordability.

Affordability of rental housing vs. what households can afford (left) and the number of rental listings in a 12-month period that were affordable by households in income bands (right)

Affordability of rental housing vs. what households can afford without going into rental stress

Housing stress by the income bands prescribed in the Victorian Government’s Planning Scheme (very low, low and moderate households), presented as LGA and small areas.

The spatial picture of rental stress in City of Knox, able to be filtered by income bands

Meeting Knox’s requirements

The housing monitor meets the City’s principles for their indicators:

  • Reliable source in another 5 years
  • See change over time
  • Benchmarked to the region
  • Small area data
  • Visual – easy for people to see the story quickly
  • Trustworthy – transparent and from trusted sources
  • Reduce the burden of data collection


New housing indicators for the City

The City Research and Mapping team are now using the housing monitor to create their new set of indicators, and will be going out to the community with the State of Knox report in 2020.

Using housing.id, Darlene Swan, Acting Coordinator of City Research and Mapping, says that housing.id provides ‘very strong’ datasets for their new sets of indicators, and for ongoing work monitoring their housing story.

Reduced burden of data collection

Having a subscription to housing.id enables the City Research and Mapping team to confidently update their set of headline indicators without the added burdens of data collection. “We’re collecting data right across everything, it’s very useful to have a source that’s already done” says Swan.

“And the fact that it’s on a public website too is fantastic. The data is there for everyone to see and use. Our partners, our community.” The result, says Swan, is that the team can spend less time finding data and fulfilling small requests, and spend more time looking at the trends and identifying the issues that might need addressing in City of Knox.

Informing the city’s housing work

Housing.id has been a strategic investment for the City of Knox, as a part of a strong emphasis on housing – especially housing affordability – driven by the community. The housing monitor is already being used in other projects, including the city’s social and affordable housing strategy.

For Swan, investing in the tool has been crucial to having access to the right information that her team, the city and it’s partners need to make informed decisions about housing “I would recommend housing.id if you’re wanting to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening locally with housing.”

We look forward to following more of the innovative work happening over at City of Knox.

If you’re interested in hearing how our housing team could assist your council, book a web meeting to chat with us.

Short Guardian Video of Corbyn’s Election Promises

Labour launched its manifesto yesterday, as did the Tories, and the newspapers and TV were full of it. The Guardian, however, produced this little video in which Corbyn presents the party’s manifesto promises in just a minute and a half.

The Labour leader says

‘Labour’s manifesto is a manifesto for hope. That is what this document is. We will unleash a record investment blitz. And it will rebuild our schools, our hospitals, care homes and the housing we so desperately need. Every town, every city and every region. So a Labour government will ensure that big oil and gas corporations that profit from heating up our planet will shoulder the burden and pay their fair share through a just transition tax. We’ll get Brexit sorted within six months. We will secure a sensible deal that protects manufacturing and the Good Friday Agreement. And then put it to a public vote alongside the option of remaining in the EU. And yes, be clear, we will scrap university tuition fees.’ 

At this point there is massive cheering from his audience. He goes on

‘We are going to give you the very fastest, full fiber broadband for free. That is real change. And Labour will scrap Universal Credit.’

More cheering and applause. Corbyn’s speech ends with

‘It’s time for real change. Thank you!’

The crowd rises to give him a standing ovation.

Okay, so this is a very short, very edited version of Corbyn’s speech, just giving the briefest outline of the party’s policies. But it shows that Corbyn’s policies offer real change after forty years of Thatcherism, which has decimated our schools, NHS and public services and destroyed people’s health and lives through savage welfare cuts intended to punish the poor so that the rich could profit. All of which was also carried out by the smarmy face of Blair’s New Labour, who tried presenting themselves as some kind of caring alternative to the Tories, while taking over their odious policies and actually going further.

And as Corbyn says, this is a manifesto of hope. Zelo Street has written a post comparing it with the radical changes that set up the welfare state by Clement Attlee’s 1940s Labour government and their manifesto, Let Us Face the Future. The Sage of Crewe describes how Attlee’s reforms, which set up the post-war consensus, were destroyed by Thatcher, leaving nothing but poverty and run-down, struggling public services, including the NHS, so that the rich 1% can get even richer.

But he writes

Today, Labour brought something to the General Election campaign that recalled the message of 1945, and that something was hope. Hope that students of whatever age would not be saddled with tens of thousands of Pounds of debt for years after graduating. Hope that the punitive benefit sanctions régime would no longer target the sick and disabled. Hope that a living wage really would be enough to live on.

Hope that those out-of-towners without cars would not be effectively trapped in their homes at weekends and in the evening because of public transport cuts. Hope that the NHS would be able to cope without leaving emergency admissions on trolleys in corridors. Hope that someone would, at last, take the Climate Emergency seriously. Hope that the scourge of Universal Credit would at last be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Hope that the victims of press abuse would finally see the long-overdue completion of the Leveson Inquiry, so shamelessly ducked by the Tories in exchange for favourable coverage. Hope that bad housing, and bad landlords, would finally become a thing of the past. Hope that the Police and Fire services will be able to cope, giving security and peace of mind to everyone. Hope of an end to homelessness.

Hope that education will be resourced properly, that teachers will be supported in their work, that pupils will not have to ask parents or guardians to help pay for what should be classroom essentials. Hope of real action to challenge racism in all its forms. Hope for 1950s women that pension injustice will be acknowledged – and tackled. Hope that the divisions caused by the 2016 EU referendum can finally be healed.

He goes on to predict how the people, who have profited from the poverty and misery Thatcherism, and particularly the austerity imposed by the Tories and Lib Dems over the past 9-10 years, will fight to prevent these hopes being realised. He points out that

that alone tells you whose interest is served by the decade of decay that has ravaged so many towns and cities across the country.

And concludes

‘Labour has promised us hope. Let Us Face The Future Once More.’


This is all precisely what we need, which is why the establishment will do everything they can to prevent ordinary people getting the government, a Labour government, that they deserve. Because, as the Galaxy’s dictator Servalan once said in the BBC SF series Blake’s 7, ‘Hope is very dangerous’.



Is your local housing market supplying for vulnerable households?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 18/11/2019 - 9:16am in

 "What happened to the narrative?" "The statistics kicked in!"

We’ve written a lot about housing stress recently, and understanding the numbers of households spending too much on their mortgage and rental payments. There are a number of drivers of housing stress, one of which is the price points of sales and rental listings being supplied by your local housing market. Understanding the pricing points in the private market is vital for understanding why housing affordability may be an issue in your area. In today’s blog, Georgia shares how you can quantify the affordable supply in your local area.

Interested in hearing how our housing team could assist your Council? Book a time to meet with our team here.

How do you know if your local housing market is providing affordable housing options for households on the lowest incomes? We’ve heard that this is a pain point for many Councils across Australia. Many want to have access to this sort of information to assist in their advocacy activities, and for negotiating with developers – showing that affordable supply is limited and asking for a contribution of affordable dwellings is a valid request.

Median house and unit prices, and median rents are potentially an answer to this question, but they don’t give you an idea of the number of listings at a given price point, and often the median housing costs are not affordable for lower-income households.

So what are the other options?

It’s not all bad news though – there is data available that you can add to your evidence base around the supply in the private housing market. We’ve recently been working with Hometrack (part of the REA Group) to develop a way to measure the quantity of affordable supply in a given area.

It starts with a few simple calculations. How much can the income group you’re interested in afford to spend on a house purchase? You can either do this yourself, or there are plenty of online mortgage calculators that can help. For example, if you look at Low-income households in Greater Sydney, as defined by Family and Community Services, they can comfortably afford a property purchase of $429,000. But how many sales were under this amount in the past year? Through partnering with Hometrack, .id are able to access the list of sales that occurred in your local area over the past 12 months, and quantify the number of sales under $429,000 for example.

So how did affordable sales supply look like in Greater Sydney in 2018? Not great is the simple answer. Fewer than one in five sales would have been affordable for a household with a moderate income.

Income bracket
Affordable purchase price
Affordable sales
% of total sales

Very low



Of course, there are local nuances in the supply of affordable sales, with some areas providing a higher supply than others. Areas in Greater Sydney with higher levels of affordable supply are generally the outer growth areas, such as Camden, Campbelltown and Penrith – however affordable supply for moderate-income households only raises to one in three sales.

What about renters?

I’m glad you asked! Renters are the most vulnerable group in the private housing market, especially those on lower incomes. Again, we’ve heard from numerous Councils that accessing data around rental supply is really difficult.

The good news is that the same analysis outlined above for sales is available for rental listings. Again it starts with calculating how much the income group you’re interested in can spend on rent per week. Looking at Greater Melbourne this time, and the income brackets outlined in the Planning and Environment Act, a low-income household could afford to spend $396 per week on rent. Again, through our partnership with Hometrack, we are able to access the rental listings that occurred in your local area over the past 12 months and quantify the number of rental listings that were under $396 per week.

Looking at affordable rental supply in Greater Melbourne in 2018, we can see that there are very few listings available for very low-income households. This puts significant financial pressure on these households, and also the social housing system.

Income bracket
Affordable weekly rent
Affordable rentals
% of total rental listings

Very low



Again there are local nuances in the supply of affordable rentals. The outer suburban areas again feature in the more affordable areas, however, areas such as Maribyrnong and Dandenong also feature, especially for supply affordable for very low-income households.

If you’d like to see how this data looks for a Local Government area, jump onto one of our housing.id sites, or if you’d like to get access to this data for your Council, book a time to chat with us here.