Selected Elements of Housing Affordability Impacting Otherwise Potentially Sustainable Communities

TitleSelected Elements of Housing Affordability Impacting Otherwise Potentially Sustainable Communities
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsGarner, G. Owen
Conference NameCRIOCM2009 International Symposium on "Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate"
Date Published06/2009
PublisherCRIOCM - Chinese Research Institute of Construction Management
Conference LocationNanjing, China
Keywordsassesment period, Holding cost, housing affordability, opportuynity cost, planning

It is widely held that strong relationships exist between housing, economic status, and well being. Therefore, recent events emerging from the United States, culminating in widespread housing stock surpluses in that country and others, threaten to destabilise many aspects related to individuals and community. However, despite global impact, the position of housing demand and supply is not consistent. The Australian position provides a strong contrast whereby continued strong housing demand generally remains a critical issue affecting the socio-economic landscape. Underpinned by strong levels of immigration, and further buoyed by sustained historically low interest rates, increasing income levels, and increased government assistance for first home buyers, this strong housing demand ensures elements related to housing affordability continue to gain prominence. A significant, but less visible factor impacting housing affordability – particularly new housing development – relates to holding costs. These costs are in many ways “hidden” and cannot always be easily identified. Although it is only one contributor, the nature and extent of its impact requires elucidation. In its simplest form, it commences with a calculation of the interest or opportunity cost of land holding. However, there is significantly more complexity for major new developments - particularly greenfield development. Analysis suggests that even small shifts in primary factors impacting holding costs can appreciably affect housing affordability. Those factors of greatest significance not only include interest rates and the rate of inflation, but even less apparent factors such as the regulatory assessment period. These are not just theoretical concepts but real, measurable price drivers. Ultimately, the real impact is felt by the one market segment whom can typically least afford it – new home, first home buyers. They can be easily pushed out of affordability. This paper suggests the stability and sustainability of growing, new communities require this problem to be acknowledged and accurately identified if the well being of such communities is to be achieved.

Refereed DesignationRefereed