Unaffordable Houisng in Melbourne

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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... ... middle of paper ... ...only set to get worse unless a solution is found. Whilst several wider economic and policy issues have been highlighted as common explanations for the current crisis, this paper has argued that statutory planning measures, inefficiencies and costs are the primary drivers behind the severe lack of affordability in the housing market. It can be seen that while housing affordability is clearly an important concern for Melbourne home buyers, current statutory planning fails to include more comprehensive measures for affordable housing provisions during processes of urban growth and change. Therefore, this paper indeed endorses and urges for an expanded reform agenda for both Australian and Victorian planning, extending beyond procedural change to include a range of other planning measures designed specifically to support affordable housing inclusion within communities.

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