Report

Housing affordability: more than rent and mortgages

16 Dec 2008
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This paper links the notion of affordability with environmental sustainability and argues that true housing affordability must take into account a wider range of costs than just rent or mortgage price.Increasingly, the gap is widening between those who have access to housing and those who do not. Access to secure and safe housing is a basic human right. In a just, equitable and inclusive society, there should be adequate levels of affordable housing available to people on low incomes. A widely used measure is that when a household in the bottom 40 per cent of the income distribution spends more than 30 per cent of its gross income on housing costs it is in housing stress. Failure to ensure access to affordable housing is also linked with a range of other problems such as poor health status and social exclusion.

This paper links the notion of affordability with environmental sustainability and argues that true housing affordability must take into account a wider range of costs than just rent or mortgage price. At a time when Australians are dealing with the twin issues of climate change and increasing petrol prices, consideration of housing affordability must include transport and energy costs.

We must also account for costs to society from the effects of people living in poorly built and designed houses, without sufficient supporting infrastructure; dependent on cars due to a lack of accessible and easily available public transport options.

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2008
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