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Conference paper

What if Australia's housing affordability stress measure doesn't actually measure housing affordability stress?

Housing Poverty Australia
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apo-nid178866.docx 203.23 KB

The long-run worsening of Australia’s housing affordability problems are especially concentrated in our cities. Underlying any policy solutions proposed by governments, is a pressing need to understand who has unaffordable housing, and how they are affected. We have previously proposed that the most widely used affordability measure underlying policy and research is only able to identify those households ‘at risk’ of housing affordability stress (HAS), rather than households who are actually experiencing HAS. By failing to identify and enumerate who is affected by housing affordability problems Australian Governments are at high risk of mis-directing any policy response. In this paper we propose a new measure of Experienced HAS, for individual households. This measure incorporates an understanding of material deprivation, alongside the simple ratio of housing costs to income (HAS). Utilising longitudinal data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey we test the usefulness of this measure; map relative change across an important health measure over time and provide revised estimates of the number and character of Australians affected by housing affordability problems.

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