With impacts of COVID-19 on the housing system becoming clearer, and the broad outlines of the post COVID-19 economy more apparent, this project reviews how major consequences of housing productivity and stability for the longer term could be reflected in better policy approaches across all orders of government. It involves a range of leading housing policy makers and practitioners in a high level moderated ‘debate’ that synthesises a range of views on the future evolution of Australia’s housing system.
Building on a review of published literature on evidence of key housing economy relations in Australia and informed opinions on the housing impacts of COVID-19, the study applies a ‘Delphi’ technique for gauging expert opinions on a range of housing and productivity related issues. This allows the views of topic experts to be collected through an initial targeted survey to inform an aggregated picture of interviewee thinking. To tease out participant reasoning and to better understand what underlies opinion diversity, this is then discussed with all participants individually, highlighting similarities and contrasts between views of each participant and the collective wisdom on each issue.
- Australia’s leading economists and housing policy experts overwhelmingly support the case that Australian governments must pay greater regard to housing system impacts on productivity and growth – a view held by almost two thirds of economists participating this research (64%), and by 94% of other housing experts.
- By a margin of five to one, economists and other experts see ‘status quo’ economic policies as having exacerbated income and wealth inequality; yet by a margin of two to one, they doubt that countering inequality is genuinely a current official policy priority.
- Some 84% of experts see a need for major additional fiscal stimulus measures beyond those announced in the October 2020 budget. By a margin of eight to one, it is seen that omission of social housing investment from the 2020 budget was mistaken.