Briefing paper

Demand, deposits, debt: housing affordability in Sydney

3 Apr 2017


Sydney’s house prices have long been a concern for policymakers and the wider community. Debate continues over the causes of Sydney’s sustained house price growth, though most agree that some combination of demand fundamentals and supply constraints have led to the house prices we see today. There is no shortage of responses to this pressing issue, as can be seen in the solutions proposed by a range of stakeholders and the prolific media commentary over these past few months. Whether the latest tranche of policy proposals and ideas will ease the affordability challenges facing Sydney (and other parts of Australia) remains to be seen.

This paper presents the issue of housing affordability in Sydney in three parts:

  1. Trends in house prices in Sydney and other parts of Australia, as well as a summary of key housing affordability measures;
  2. An overview of supply and demand drivers that have influenced house prices in Sydney; and
  3. The social and economic impacts caused by high house prices, as well as recent policy proposals and responses aimed at addressing these consequences.

Accompanying this briefing paper is an interactive map displaying Housing NSW's median house price by Greater Sydney postcode for September 2016 (the most recent available data). Users can determine available suburb median prices for all dwellings, as well as strata and non-strata dwellings.

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