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Housing Affordability: has the great Australian dream ended?

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  1. Housing Affordability: has the great Australian dream ended? • Judy Yates • University of Sydney

  2. Outline • Current situation (and why different from US) • How did we get there? • Implications and explanations of changes that have occurred • What is needed for a fairer housing system? • What can we do about it?

  3. Current situation • In Australia • House prices declining - but • Initial house price correction occurred in 2003-04 • Current and anticipated shortage of supply • Factors specific to US house price declines • Excess supply of housing • Expansion of home ownership to ‘underserved’ minorities • High proportion sub-prime lending • Different financial system • Non-recourse lending • Fixed rate lending, widespread use of MBS • Weaker regulatory system

  4. US and Australian real house price inflation Source: US:http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/index/CSHomePrice_History_022445.xls Aus: ABS : http://www.abs.gov (641601.xls)

  5. Australia:Demand-supply balance as at 2008 Source: State of Supply, 2009, National Housing Supply Council, Table 4.5

  6. Australia:Increase in gap over 5 years to 2013: Source: State of Supply, 2009, National Housing Supply Council, Table 4.10

  7. Australia: FHB Affordability index

  8. Affordability Outcomes (2003-04) Lower income private renters Lower income purchasers Moderate income private renters Moderate income purchasers Source: Yates and Milligan (2007) Housing Affordability: A 21st Century Problem, AHURI NRV3, FR

  9. Real rent inflation (Aus CPI rent) Source: Aus: ABS 641605.xls; rent component, CPI adj

  10. Median weekly rents, June quarter 2008 Source: REIA Market Facts, June quarter 2008

  11. Distribution of private rents: 1996 - 2006 Source: State of Supply, 2009, National Housing Supply Council, Figure 5.8

  12. Rental affordability for lower income households: 2006 Source: State of Supply, 2009, National Housing Supply Council, Table 5.1

  13. Decrease in social housing dwellings 1996-2008 Shortfall 500,000 Crisis 480,000 460,000 Indigenous 440,000 Not4Profit 420,000 Public 400,000 380,000 360,000 340,000 320,000 300,000 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Social housing 90,000 units Source: State of Supply, 2009, National Housing Supply Council, Figure 5.7

  14. Current state - summary • Affordability for FHBs has improved in the past 6 months but is still worse than a decade ago • Affordability problems worse for lower income renters • Associated with affordable housing shortages

  15. How did we get there? • Experiences of 3 generations of FHBs • 1950s-1960s • 1970s-1980s • 1990s-2000s • Implications and explanations of changes that have occurred

  16. 1950s -1960s • Median house price: $7,500 • Average earnings: $2,000 pa • Maximum loan: $9,000 • Deposit gap: -ve • Dream: owner-occupied housing provided shelter, security and stability • Reality: housing affordable

  17. 1970s – 1980s • Median house price: $32,000 • Average earnings: $ 8,000 pa • Maximum loan: $25,000 • Deposit gap:  annual income • Dream: wealth accumulation • Reality: access problems emerging

  18. 1990s – 2000s • Median house price: $350,000 • Average earnings: $ 50,000 pa • Maximum loan: $200,000 • Deposit gap:  3x pa income • Dream: ??? • Reality: housing unaffordable

  19. Key factors: 1950s – 1960s • Economic: • Stable, steady growth • Social • Family focus, single male breadwinner • Financial • Regulated housing finance sector • Significant government provision • Role of housing • Shelter, security, stability

  20. Key factors: 1970s-1980s • Economic: • High unemployment and high inflation • Social • Move to two earner households • Financial • Increasing interest rates, emergence of deposit gaps • Decreasing government involvement • Role of housing • Savings requirement, plus inflation highlighted wealth accumulation

  21. Overview: FHB Median house price ($2008) Source: HIA FHB median house price data from 1984: average capital cities, CPI adj Extrapolated back with scaled BIS Shrapnel data

  22. Access to home purchasehouse price/income ratio

  23. Access to home purchase:deposit gap/income ratio

  24. Key factors: 1990s-2000s • Economic: • Labour market deregulation, income polarisation • Social • Delayed marriage and child bearing • Financial • Financial deregulation and liberalisation • Role of housing • Tax advantaged investment • Need for inheritance for FHBs

  25. Current situation: FHB Median house price ($2008) Source: HIA FHB median house price data from 1984: average capital cities, CPI adj Extrapolated back with scaled BIS Shrapnel data

  26. Access to home purchasehouse price/income ratio

  27. Access to home purchase:deposit gap/income ratio

  28. Access to home purchase • Two periods where access has declined • 1970s: Structural – has not been reversed; associated with • rise in inflation and interest rates from 1970 through to 1990 • 2000s: Structural or cyclical? associated with • divergence of rise in house prices from rise in incomes from 1990; exacerbated by rises from 2000 • reduced cost and increased availability finance

  29. Key point 1 • Current housing affordability problems are structural (as well as cyclical) • began 30-40 years ago (when inflation switched focus on housing from providing shelter security to providing wealth security) • exacerbated by changes in CGT (in 1986 favouring owner-occupiers; in 1999 favouring investors) and financial deregulation and liberalisation that increased availability of, and access to, housing finance.

  30. Implications • Housing serves a dual role • Consumption – provides shelter • Investment – provides wealth • Affordability problems arise because • Role as asset for wealthy crowds out • Role of shelter for less well off

  31. Implications: age specific HO rates Source: census data, special tables

  32. Real net wealth per head ($2003-04) Source: Treasury Roundup Summer 2004-05

  33. Real net wealth per household ($2008) Source: RBA Bulletin Statistics, Table B20, divided by estimated number of households

  34. Household net worth by age, 2003-04

  35. Owner-occupiers Household net worth by age, 2003-04 Otherhouseholds

  36. Key point 2 • Within family intergenerational transmission of wealth is inequitable • Children and grandchildren of owners can be assisted • Children and grandchildren of non-owners can’t be assisted

  37. Household net worth by wealth quintile, 2003-04

  38. Key point 3 • Within family intergenerational transmission of wealth is inequitable • Wealthiest households have disproportionately greater capacity to assist their children and grandchildren

  39. A fair housing system? • An adequate supply of dwellings for all households within their capacity to pay • With market focus, outcomes will reflect inequalities of income and wealth • Within housing framework, can assist only by making housing assistance fairer

  40. A fairer housing assistance system? • Outright owners • nothing • Purchasers/would be purchasers • address failures that result in marginal FHBs paying more • provide insurance to protect marginal FHBs • funded by purchasers or lenders • no rationale for deposit assistance to assist wealth accumulation by advantaged households

  41. A fairer housing assistance system? • Renters • rent assistance for those unable to meet costs of minimum acceptable standard of housing available • ensure adequate supply of affordable housing • Landlords • subsidise provision of affordable housing

  42. Score card for new policies • Direct • ?Incentives for investment in affordable rental housing – tax credits (NRAS) $500m • public housing stimulus package $6.4b

  43. Score card for pre-existing policies • Direct • First Home Owners Grant (~ $1b pa until stimulus which will add an ~extra $1.5b in this financial year) • Commonwealth Rent Assistance (~ $2b pa) • Public Housing (< $1.5b pa until stimulus which has added an extra $6.4b over coming 3 years) • Land taxes

  44. Score card for pre-existing policies • Indirect • Tax exemptions for home owners (>> $21b pa) • No capital gains taxes • No tax on dividends (rents) • Offset by no deductions for costs • Tax incentives for landlords (> ~ $1.2b pa) • Negative gearing • Depreciation allowances • Offset by State taxes

  45. Score card for non-current policies • Marginal or non-existent • Mortgage insurance schemes to protect borrowers not lenders • Small scale state based schemes exist • Could be a role for shared equity • Incentives for investment in affordable rental housing • Targeted depreciation allowances • Planning incentives • Institutional support for institutional investment • Land trusts

  46. Conclusions • Pre-existing system of housing assistance is generally perverse • New initiatives generally in the right direction

  47. Conclusions • Has the great Australian dream ended? • Yes for many if emphasis remains on wealth accumulation • Not necessarily if emphasis returns to shelter and stability

  48. Real income and real house prices >30% Index Source: Treasury

  49. What can we do about it? • 1. Make investment by wealthy less desirable by reducing scarcity of desirable land • Increase supply desirable land (infrastructure, transport etc) • Reduce desirability of scarce land (decrease tax incentives for owning land; increase density)

  50. What can we do about it? • 2. Increase housing available for shelter (and investment) for low to moderate income households • Increase supply affordable rental housing • Help marginal purchasers stay in their homes