Journal article

Housing affordability, tenure and mental health in Australia and the United Kingdom: a comparative panel analysis

Housing Housing prices Cost and standard of living Mental health Social issues Affordable housing Tenants Australia United Kingdom

This paper contributes insights into the role of tenure in modifying the relationship between housing affordability and health, using a cross-national comparison of similar post-industrial nations—Australia and the United Kingdom—with different tenure structures. The paper utilises longitudinal data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey and British Household Panel Survey to examine change in the mental health of individuals associated with housing becoming unaffordable and considers modification by tenure. We present evidence that the role of tenure in the relationship between housing and health is context dependent and should not be unthinkingly generalised across nations. These findings suggest that the UK housing context offers a greater level of protection to tenants living in unaffordable housing when compared with Australia, and this finds expression in the mental health of the two populations. We conclude that Australian governments could improve the mental health of their economically vulnerable populations through more supportive housing policies.

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