Fitch: Australian housing still least affordable

By Leith van Onselen

In a clear broad-side to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which argues that Australian housing values are not out of line with many comparable countries, Fitch credit ratings agency claims that Australian housing remains amongst the most expensive in the world. From Property Observer:

Australian housing affordability has improved markedly over the last few years, but it still remains the least affordable housing market in the world, according to credit rating agency Fitch.

Fitch measures housing affordability using two measures: percentage of disposable household income required to make mortgage repayments and house prices relative to average income per person.

On the first measure, “market debt-to-income ratio” (which measures mortgage payment on average-priced dwellings as a proportion of an average-sized household‘s average gross disposable income), Australia ranks as the least affordable of 12 global markets.

This is despite a great improvement in this ratio, with Australians home owners now spending about 32% of their household income on mortgage payments, compared with around 38% of income in 2011 and around 44% of income in 2008,  just before the GFC.

In comparison, American households spend only around 16% of their income on mortgage repayments and those in the UK about 17%…

On the second measure of affordability, house price to GDP per capita ratio, Australia ranks second only to Greece with a ratio of 8, compared with a ratio of 5 in the US and under 7 in the UK. Greece’s ratio is 8.5.

In 2010 the Australian house price to GDP per capita ratio was nearly 9.

So there you have it. Despite significant improvement, Fitch believes that Australian housing remains expensive by global standards.

Comments

  1. reusachtigeMEMBER

    But this report fails to acknowledge that Australia has less arable land for housing and better quality housing than the rest of the world, and we have a beach culture that makes our houses more expensive. These things justify why it is rightly so.

    • Don’t forget that we have a massive under supply of housing (particularly in Melbourne I hear), immigration is through the roof, and our population is concentrated in only a few capital cities.

      • None of which explains the identical gigantic rise if house prices I find in small rural towns all over Australia (not near mines either). That’s a classic sign of a bubble.

      • I was being sarcastic, I’m pretty sure reusachtige was too. The massive housing under supply in Melbourne should have given it away.

      • I picked up on the sarcasm, but wanted to make the point anyway.

        One of the most expensive places in Oz is Alice Springs, where there is … wait for it … a shortage of land! 😆

        You couldn’t make this stuff up.

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      • None of which explains the identical gigantic rise if house prices I find in small rural towns all over Australia
        Not true.
        The price rises have not been identical. It is ludicrous to suggest that.

      • Immigration of net permanents is not through the roof at all. Most of our NOM is temp visa holders. Approx 900,000 counted in our ‘official’ growth numbers. What bs…

      • Trends are all heading down….. and will go down further because far fewer international students, plus with slowing economy less 457 workers, and all their dependents……

        Permanents are about 185K per year and are unrelated to NOM and population as NOM is based upon the 12/16 month rule which includes temps such as students, 457 workers, 2nd year backpackers and dependents, plus permanent residents and Australian citizens returning…..

        Agree with willynilly lots of bs used by real estate lobby, and the anti immigration, population growth, white Australia, anti growth etc. advocates to please their own constituency (and maintain status quo e.g. we can do nothing re. climate change, environment because migrants cause problems, not us), and influence environmentally minded progressives by claiming direct causal links between migration and environment, of which there are is no acceptable clear evidence.

      • yeah right, permanent only is 210k this year, when you add all the others visa that are not going to get back home the figure is far higher.

        it s to the roof, and it s ridiculous to claim the trend is down when it s not.

      • and if you believe immigration has no consequences on quality of life/environment/house prices you re delusional.

    • Really? Less arable land?
      My sarcasm detector is broken, so i’m not sure if your serious.

      10 minutes from my house in Melbourne there is farmland as far as the eye can see, seems theres plenty of arable land.

      Our housing is clearly unafforable by any measure, why do people feel the need to dispute that?

    • Better quality housing…. O RLY…

      Less land for housing than say Belgium for example…

      Excellent trollage…

    • Looks like our ‘beach culture’ is not going to save the Merimbula / Tura Beach property markets. Listing have been growing ever higher, currently 730+ listed on RealEstate.com. Looks like all those highly geared Melbourne speculators must be suffering a lot of pain.

      Speaking to a close friend over Xmas who used to work as a conveyancer there, a very high proportion up for sale are Mortgagee in Possession sales.

      We plan moving down that way in 5 years time when we retire, cash buyers…..so its is looking more and more likely that by then we will be able to pick and choose at a steep discount to today’s advertised prices.

      • What goes up MUST come down – government and private industry cannot really do much to influence it – the market (i.e cost and availability of borrowing) will dictate real estate prices.

    • Anyone who claims that Australia has the best quality housing in the world has never seen the rest of the world. Of all the first world countries, Australia’s housing quality would be near the bottom. Low quality building standards and a limited choice when it comes to materials and products for interior finishing. Also extremely overpriced building materials. Mandatory inspections at each step of construction would improve quality.

      • They are available in China and the US, why not Aus?

        Given our strong currency and poor build quality I would have thought Aus would be a ready market.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        I have seen a few of these in Europe and have to say they are very very good. If there is any take up in Australia I guarantee that will export Australia’s housing construction led recovery.

        There are a few outfits arounddoing prefab housing – mostly of quite good quality.

        I have been thinking about buying the bush block and going completely feral so have looked at some of these.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        No I havent, but a week or so ago I was chatting with some mates, architects, and one of them said he thought that someone had set up some sort of business doing the huf stuff in Australia (and I think he said that was because the Germans werent doing Australia at the moment).

        There is an outfit in Hobart called archishack and one in Horsham (I think) called Ral Homes also worth a look. Wont be to everyones taste but will provide ideas.

      • The truly amazing thing is watching the squadron of German builders show up and put the thing together, and getting upset when things that should line up are out by _millimetres_.

        There was one on Grand Designs a while back – that’s where I first learnt about them – well worth digging up to watch.

      • GunnamattaMEMBER

        Agree 100%, even the middle east and Africa and central asia are churning out better housing than here

  2. Oh yeah, “we have a beach culture that makes our house more expensive” – just like California… take a look at where their house prices have gone. Phf – try again.

  3. “house prices relative to average income per person.”

    Granted I am not aware of this metric, I wonder how many household formations in Australia are discovered by more than one income.

  4. “better quality housing”

    In Australia?!?!? Not from what I have seen. Shoddily made, energy inefficient, poorly designed ratboxes for 400k (1br) and 550k (2br). At least here in Sydney.

    • When we had a large storm in Perth in 2010, water came pouring down the inside walls of a 1990-ish built house I was renting at the time.

      As Comic Book Guy would say: “Worst.Quality.Ever!”

      • dumb_non_economist

        R2M, that isn’t a quality problem, it’s an Australian Standards building problem. They haven’t changed the standard for gutter or down-pipe size or the number of d/pipes which don’t take into account the volume of water from a T/S. Therefore it overflows into the eaves and down the walls, usually the cavity, but as happened at my place (rental) a few weeks back, down a down-light!!

        Still shite quality though.

      • Hehe, I ad to make sure you =/= me then.

        The huge SOR storms we had prior to christmas, 18/19th december. I had exactly the same thing.

        But even my friends with an understanding of building said you couldn’t really plan for those amounts.

        130mm in an hour or something?

        I have 3 downpipes just on the rear side of my house, and water still slipped in over the eaves, onto a bulkhead and throught he downlights.

        I was told to drill 10mm holes just below the lower threshold of the gutter on the opposing side.

      • dumb_non_economist

        RP, I haven’t had a place that can handle the typical winter storms let alone THAT event. Check the eaves staining on virtually any 70s built home and you’ll see what I mean.

      • Brilliant design having the front of the gutter higher than the rear, so when it does overflow, it runs into the eves???, wtf.

      • Due to Darwin’s extreme rain events (ie 600ml in three days) many houses here have a slightly different concept to gutters – they don’t have them.

      • Not much anymore. And less and less as time goes on (average down from 930mm+ in 1970 to some years now of 600mm). The rainfall is moving south towards the Pole.

        I used to be terribly keen to buy a home in WA, but over time I’ve lost confidence in the place. Here are just some of the reasons:

        * Resource state that would suffer inordinate and disproportionate harm to values if China stumbles (and it will)

        * Climatic disaster: getting hotter and drier every year, and new science from Antarctica shows this is an event that has not occurred for many thousands of years, so it’s likely to result in something humans have never seen in this area before, like a multi-decadal drought that will reduce the area to a desert.

        * Horrible house price bubble, possibly Australia’s biggest, that could pop suddenly and disastrously.

        * Tiny block sizes in all new subdivisions (someone said “like a jail cell” — Bingo!)

        * Dumbistan: No daylight saving (hot sun high in the sky when you get out of bed)

        * Dumbistan: Restricted shopping hours, crammed shops when they are actually open. All the Uncle Arthurs are happy though!

        * Dumbistan: We must have the worst state government in Australia. They’re all either incompetent, corrupt, alcoholic, bigoted, bogan or stupid. This applies to both major parties.

      • I’ve lived in both NSW and WA. In the last decade.

        Nothing… NOTHING… compares to the just deposed NSW ALP government in living memory in terms of corruptness and incompetence.

  5. But the Kouk says:
    “The HIA-CBA Housing Affordability index shows that national affordability in the September quarter 2012 rose to the highest level since 2009 to be just shy of the highest level in a decade. When the December quarter data is available around the middle of February, affordability will have had a further significant boost, perhaps to be at near multi-decade highs.”

    That is the environment within which Australian dwelling purchase decisions will be made. The overseas comparisons are probably less front of mind.

    For me, employment and job advert trends are the likely determinant of willingness to commit to house purchase.

    The bottom end might get more support as people who believe in buying for social/family reasons buy but at a lower price point so they can pay off loans faster than 30 or even 25 years.

    The 2nd and 3rd quintiles might need 2 years of stock market growth and SME profits first.

  6. I have looked at knocking down and rebuilding my home. the cost of building a new home is really expensive…

    so its just not the market bidding up prices – the underlying cost is high as well

    • Are you comparing bespoke costs of building or the project homes normally bought as new homes. Bespoke at $1m compared to project at $0.4 and add 0.1 for best quality appliances, kitchen and bathrooms.

      When you look at changing fashions, it may be more economic to do a project home now and again in 25 years than a bespoke home to last 60 years with a couple of renovations over that time.

      You can also look at a constant monthly repayment based on the bespoke and then apply it to the project home and look at how much faster you pay it off and the interest saved. I would guess that the interest saved would pay for 50 to 80% of the second project home!

      • Yep. People seem to forget that homes need maintenance, and without it they fall apart — take a drive through any of the McMansion estates built in the last 10 – 15 years and you’ll soon notice that what looked like a nice, ultra-modern rendered finish is now faded, cracked and falling apart at the seams…

  7. Least affordable = most expensive.
    It is quite puzzling really, to think that the higher incomes justify high house prices (as is often said), while the higher wages themselves make Australia less competitive compared to other nations. We are facing a very difficult catch-22 here. If we expect wage growth to catch up with house prices and even inflate them further, we become even less competitive in the process, don’t we? If the wages fall we cannot afford to pay the high prices and hence prices fall. Personally I cannot see how such a wage growth could be possible in this global environment that it would inflate house prices.
    How common is it now for adult children to live at home in Australia, even in high income households? I have never known anyone in Finland living at home beyond 21 or 22. I checked with a relative now aged in her early twenties and she confirmed that this is the case for her also. The internet provides official statistics informing that in 2007 less than one third of those aged 21 lived with their parents and 5 % of those aged 30 did so. The link is unlikely to be useful but for those interested in the topic google the life of women and men in Europe and you can read a pdf file provided by eurostat, regarding life in various countries in Europe, notably prior to the GFC though.
    How good is it for the country and for the individual adults to be pampered by Mama’s house keeping in their late twenties and thirties still? What does it tell about housing affordability?

    • +1

      Right on Goldilocks!

      Past few decades of super-charged wages growth which has been used to fund bigger and bigger debts (household finance, particularly prop), has done nothing but increase the “price” of land… in retrospect it’s clear we (as a nation) have squandered the free ride afforded to us by the luck of our mineral wealth, and the rapid industrialisation of China.

      People seem to forget how unproductive residential land is. Having consumers burdened with massive debt is good for the lenders, but for the rest of us it restricts discretionary income, and domestic productive consumption/spending.

      ..Also with labour productivity where it is at the moment there’s a good argument for lower wages.

      In the meantime, if there are enough people to keep bidding the market up, it shouldn’t really be all that much concern to those of us that may think prices are well and truly overheated.

      ….I really don’t care if the guy next door is the kind of person who will take out a loan, paying 6% pa, to buy something yielding 2% (about where we are, net maintenance, agent fees, rates). All it tells me is that he’s probably not really all that great with numbers.

      If rents go up with inflation, that’s fine by me. Above-inflation growth is not sustainable indefinitely….it’s mathematically not possible. Doesn’t really matter how stubborn the market is, I’m guessing old mate next door will sooner take a 2% gross return than a 0% gross return

      Righto, axe has been ground. That is all

  8. the number of people living in a household has been falling for some time, and only recently appears to be reversing…

    putting more people in houses obviously reduces the demand for housing…

  9. Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

    Second to Greece! Winning…

    I expect household size as in number of people per house to increase from here on for the next decade. It is happening in Greece, southern Europe, America and will also happen here. Perhaps there is a use for those poorly built McMansions after all.

    • Well the kids are staying at home longer cause they can not afford to move out. Over 88,000 people left Oz permanently last year.

      • I’m planning to build a second dwelling on my acreage for my son to live in. And he has a good job (100k+). It’s easy to downsize in this way. It’ll be the trend of the TwentyTeens (2013-19).

  10. what do they think about Auckland/Singapore/KL/Paris/Shanghai/London etc… ?

    I am not sure it s still very relevant to talk about average when the ownership ratio is dropping, obviously mainly those with an above average income now buy properties (not a good thing, but it s the reality), the others rent ( + foreign money (Chinese/immigration…)).

    unlike most of other countries we have very few cities here, the income ratio can become far worse than it is now, and property have plenty of room to move up, no doubt.

    • dam – take a look at our population density and productive land values.

      We are a massive country, and with the exception of sub-Sahara Africa, we have the lowest population density in the world. This is amplified by (what I call) Developed Land Capacity (that is, you can house more than one family on a 10m2 block of land; we can build up).

      Productive Land Values: yes, we have great mineral wealth. But again, we are a massive country. The actual productive value of each square metre is pretty low by global standards.

      As for the number of cities, that’s a bit of a red herring, both because it’s incorrect (though you may have a different definition for city?), and because it ignores the possibility of building new suburbs, towns and cities (as has, and will continue, to be done)

      Also re: assertion that income ratios “can become far worse than it is now” – I’m guessing this is based on “gut feeling”. Which is fair enough, it’s how most consumers make decisions. Problem is there are mathematical and economic maximums that apply. Under the right conditions it certainly may be possible to increase above 9, however it’s perhaps more reasonable to take a mid-term (5 – 10 year) or long-term (20 year) view and see how different scenarios work out… The past 20 years has been an anomaly, for a whole range of economic and political reasons which are definitely worth the research time of anyone thinking of buying into Australia’s residential property market.

      Re: Auckland; yes, also looks overpriced.

      Re: Asia – be aware most regions have land ownership rules that are vastly different to Australia’s. This skews the numbers

      • Australia is pretty much a no man land beside its 5-7 large cities, (we are still waiting for another canberra), the creation of new cities doesnt really look significant in my view.That s why, we have few large cities and we should compare these ratios mainly to ratios of similar large cities worldwide.And in many places, these ratios are far far higher, like 11.

        it s pointless to say it s overpriced, there are buyers at these prices, therefore its fair value, and of course these buyers do not earn the average income (plenty of chinese/singapour/hk money is pouring the Aucland market)

      • Another Canberra?? God no!

        Where are these 11 x multiples (guessing we are talking multiple of median gross household income).

        Agree that calling any market over or under-priced is essentially pointless if there are amply buyers & sellers, and prices can be agreed upon.

        That’s why any market has a subjective element to it. What I might need a 7% return to persuade me to invest in, someone else might be happy with a 3% return, etc etc… Weird thing about property is that (most) people borrow to buy/invest, which for the bulk of the population doesn’t make sense. Borrow @ 6% p.a. to get a 4% yield, less fees/insurances/tenancy risk etc… The days of price growth off the back of massive wages growth are limited, if not gone. Most sensible investors have their cards off the table.

        I’m actually hoping that the market holds up for a while longer, as we have half a dozen clients that still haven’t unloaded their residential stock.

        Not sure on the numbers for foreign investment in the Auckland residential market, but here in Australia it’s bugger all… actually if you look at the sums & #residences it’s clear that they aren’t the ones driving price growth en masse

      • “”””Not sure on the numbers for foreign investment in the Auckland residential market, but here in Australia it’s bugger all… actually if you look at the sums & #residences it’s clear that they aren’t the ones driving price growth en masse””””
        .
        .
        .
        .
        Not sure where in Oz you are, but it is clearly the opposite in alot of areas. Asian investor buying has been massive!!!

      • SchillersMEMBER

        “we should compare these ratios mainly to ratios of similar large cities worldwide.And in many places, these ratios are far far higher, like 11.”

        Actually, no, they are not. Outside of Hong Kong and Vancouver Australia has the most unaffordable housing in the English speaking world. We have 7 of the 14 worst cities when comparing median house prices to median income ratios. At the very top are Sydney and Melbourne (8-9), with only Hong Kong (12.6) and Vancouver (10.6) being higher. Note that despite massive foreign influx of hot money from Asia, Vancouver has topped out, with prices falling over 10% in the last year. See http://www.demographia.com for details and the full chart of 325 urban areas with populations over 1.5mil. It’s well researched, detailed and accurate.

      • “land ownership rules that are vastly different to Australia’s.”
        yes they lease, which make Australian land ownership even more valuable, and our ratio effectively lower.

      • I expect the example you’re using here is HK?

        The closest we can get to comparing apples with apples, is to use the Developed Land Value, that is essentially looking at how many square feet of inhabitable residences there are. Otherwise the implied value of HK’s land would be astronomical!

        To put it in perspective, the implied Natural PLV (Productive Land Value) of Australia is around $32.9 per square metre while in HK it was $12,061.10!

        The only reason we don’t see a similarly ridiculous change in “housing” prices is they have built up, and then some. Australia’s developed capacity is less than 40% versus more than 10,000 in HK. Incidentally it’s around 117% in NZ, 210% in Ireland, 388% in the US and 1025% in the UK. We truly are (by almost every measure) sparsely populated, with enormous room for development

      • feel free to live in the desert but in no way your PLV is 200 times lower than HKs around our 7 biggest cities, where everyone is living !!!!

        you could add the land value of the seafloor since you re at it.

    • Yep, South Africa’s had a massive bubble. May have something to do with currency controls (you never used to be able to take your money out of the country; not sure about now).

      • R2M – could much of that truly impressive rise in SA be largely the result of the new era post apartheid as the indigenous people accumulate more wealth, previously denied to them?

        Politics aside…

  11. The report says that our housing unaffordability is relatively high. That doesn’t make it the highest, does it?

    Similarly, there are plenty of people who can afford a home.

    Thirdly, homes these days are far bigger and better appointed than a generation ago. If there was a market for lower cost homes, there is certainly scope for someone to enter that market.

    Given that European cities are far more compact due to smaller house and land sizes as well as a much greater number of people having to live in apartments (much more affordable), I suspect that a large part of the ‘unaffordability’ is by customer choice.

    • “…homes these days are far bigger and better appointed than a generation ago. If there was a market for lower cost homes, there is certainly scope for someone to enter that market.”

      Average land size is much smaller than a generation ago. There is also a higher percentage of apartments.

      • It’s not an invalid point though. The smaller land lots and smaller units certainly exist, but what is their market share and does it really pull the median down. In Europe and Asia they are the norm, but here they are the exception, although I think they will grow in popularity, especially as banks and LMI’s begin to be more accepting.
        Tokyo’s one room mansions being a case in point – not that I want to see that here.

      • Theres a logic in parts of Europe – centuries-old cities which constrain options, as well as shortage of land. Shortage of land also a factor in parts of Asia, but poor transport links also an issue where there is more space.

        Australia doesnt have those issues, really. Loads of space and relatively decent transport links. Makes no sense at all for people to squish in close to CBDs.

        The work will move OUT of the CBDs, then people will be left looking stupid holding high-density accom close to the CBD. Only the timeframe of that is in doubt IMO.

      • The work will move OUT of the CBDs, then people will be left looking stupid holding high-density accom close to the CBD. Only the timeframe of that is in doubt IMO.

        The NBN will be a big factor here, IMHO, as near-ubiquitous high-speed, high-quality telecoms makes decentralisation and working from home (for those whose jobs don’t really require them to be in an office) easier.

      • They are already looking stupid now!

        The amount of vacant apartments in the city is ridiculous.

        Great return on the investment, not.

      • Quite true. But that just illustrates the tenuousness of the affordability comparison. Is a small apartment in Hong Kong to be compared to a well built inner city quarter acre standard ten square house from the fifties, or a double that size Mcmansion on a postage stamp block?

        It makes a great headline, but I am not sure how one goes about making the comparisons really valid.

    • Way to go emess!

      I think you just broke PF’s record for the most generalised and unfounded comments to be pulled from ones arse in a single post.

      Golf clap for you sir!

    • Similarly, there are plenty of people who can afford a home.

      Not really. Median national income is around $65k. Median national house price is around $500k.

      “Plenty of people” can only “afford” a home in the sense that “afford” means “spending 1/3 to 1/2 of total household income with two people working full time”.

      Thirdly, homes these days are far bigger and better appointed than a generation ago. If there was a market for lower cost homes, there is certainly scope for someone to enter that market.

      Most of the price of a property is in the land. Sure, you could save $30k or so by knocking off a bedroom, but when you’re spending $500k and looking at a twenty year commitment, why would you ?

      Given that European cities are far more compact due to smaller house and land sizes as well as a much greater number of people having to live in apartments (much more affordable), I suspect that a large part of the ‘unaffordability’ is by customer choice.

      American cities are big and sprawled like ours and dramatically cheaper to own property in.

      Given the choice – and having done both – of living in a house on 800-1200m^2, and living in a small apartment packed up against half a dozen other small apartments, I know which I prefer. What we need are more, smaller, less dense, cities.

      • drsmithy

        Totally agree we need to get smaller cities up to scratch, more of them and ones with prospects. Outside of the big 2 the career and lifestyle mix choices are restrictive. Cities like Adelaide and Hobart are plagued with brain drain, not a lot of the smart ones stay.

      • Opening up smaller cities and towns to genuine prosperity is increasingly hard in Australia due to our tendency to allow oligopolies. Anyone that’s lived in a regional area will tell you that you essentially live in branch-land where a big chunk of the professional work either never arrives or is handed over to the fly-ins from the big two cities.

        Basically, we suck all the money out of our regions and put it in the city. Paradoxically, these oligopolies then become easier to acquire for offshore capital which can then suck the money out of the country.

      • “more, smaller, less dense, cities.”
        +100
        we need lot of new cities but that not going to happen, unfortunately with the current setting only few large cities and job around CBD, the scarcity (and therefore price ) of livable houses (not too far from work and not in slump far from infrastructure) is only going to get worst, and our immigration to the roof is compounding the damage.

      • Agreed. I thought we might be getting somewhere with all the talk about Sydney Wilton Aiport and all the ‘smart jobs’ that would create for that region. All the related industries would give Campbelltown, Penrith and Wollongong residents real long term career prospects. But the real benefit would be the wholesale flattening of house prices across Sydney’s south west.

      • “spending 1/3 to 1/2 of total household income with two people working full time”

        add to that:

        “at historically low interest rates”

      • on solution could be to move some CBD outside of the city, Paris did it when they built La Defense, a large new Business District (with very good public transport access ).

        That would relieve some pressure and bring value to the outskirt of the cities.

      • Parramatta could be a logical main hub for Sydney as it is serviced by heavy rail from 3 directions. If the Epping Parramatta link were completed it would be 4. It is also the centre of a good freeway network.

        Most outer urban council areas have up to 95% of their residents commute to another council area for work, so decentralisation of the Sydney CBD could be very good for transport times and costs for those in the outer ring.

      • Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

        Horses for courses. I think we could and should live in smaller places in Aus, gigantic houses must cost a fortune to heat, cool, maintain and clean.

        I have done both. Lived in a tiny 400 sq ft flat in HK with a flatmate who always had “friends” over. That was squishy.

        Then had a 500 sq flat with my partner. We often had people come and stay. Not so squishy, in fact that was probably ideal for two people. We lived on top of a supermarket which was in our basement, the MTR (train) was across the road and there was a tram outside the front door, a bus station, 1 minute walk away and a taxi stand 2 minutes walk away. Convenience!

        Also tried living in a 1,000 sq flat when we had our first child. That was harder, although not bad until the child was walking.

        Now live in a very large house. Which takes 5x longer to clean and costs 3x the utilities/rates of the flats. The kids love the extra space though. Once they are bigger we could go back to apartment living.

  12. I know it was sarcasm, but you need arable land for agriculture, not for housing. It doesn’t make sense to turn farmland into suburbia.

    • It doesn’t make sense to turn farmland into suburbia.
      Then perhaps the converse is true.
      It makes sense to convert all suburbia to farmland.
      No, that doesn’t make sense either.

      • To a certain extent it does.

        I’d rather see five acres of suburbia replaced with one large apartment block and 4 acres of gardens and playgrounds. At least the kids would have somewhere to play and people could have a garden patch if they wanted. Apartment dwellers would have a view too, rather than the windows being 900 cm from a fence.

        I look at the McMansion’s where the eaves of the house nearly touch their neighbors and I wonder “where do the children play?”

      • one large apartment block and 4 acres of gardens and playgrounds
        Nice idea. You can buy 5 acres in Dural and replace the existing house with a large apartment block.
        This would be banned by govt, yet next to your fence the McMansions you mentioned ARE allowed by government.
        Do you think perhaps government “town planning” is the problem, not the solution?

      • I look at the McMansion’s where the eaves of the house nearly touch their neighbors and I wonder “where do the children play?”
        On their XBoxes, safely locked up inside, where they can’t be cut, bruised, have their feelings hurt, or get kidnapped by the thousands of paedophiles trawling every neighbourhood in Australia.

  13. This increase in affordability is only the result of incredibly low interest rates. What happens to affordability when the rates return to a normal level. then we’ll be no 1 with a bullet!