Friday, January 28, 2011

List: '7th International Housing Affordability Survey'

Today’s ‘List Friday’. The Australian Dream. Wikipedia defines it as ‘a belief that in Australia, home ownership can lead to a better life and is an expression of success and security’ [1]. It says the Australian Dream dates back to the reconstruction period following WWII, and it flowered in the 1950s and 1960s. But though more recently it’s declined – for various reasons. One of these reasons – perhaps the main one – is rising house prices. Which brings me to the topic of housing affordability. It doesn’t have a universal definition, but it can be defined as the ratio of median house price to median gross income. Demographia [2] is an organisation I know nothing about. And I can’t find anything on the internet. But it’s just published a report on its 7th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey [3]. Covering 325 ‘markets’ in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US. On a national level, Hong Kong’s the least affordable, and Australia’s the second least. Of the 325 ‘markets’, Melbourne’s International Affordability Rank’s 321 (i.e. the fifth least affordable); Sydney’s is 324. Even London is more affordable than Geelong [4]. The report’s author, US-based geographer and author Joel Kotkin, said ‘…Australia, once the exemplar of modestly priced, high-quality, middle-class housing…[is]…now the most unaffordable housing market in the English-speaking world’. Despite this, many observers still consider home ownership’s important to many Australians even if they can’t achieve it. Isn’t that the essence of a dream? Ho hum.

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