Addressing housing affordability in Australia
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If there is one positive to take away from the past year, it is the importance of what we do together. The year 2020 revealed that the adverse impacts of a pandemic fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable. That is, people living in poverty, the working poor, women and children, persons with disabilities, and other marginalised groups around the world.

Loneliness and mental health issues spiked amongst our most vulnerable, millions of children experienced a new mode of education and, of course, we were reminded that like a pandemic, climate change can have far reaching consequences for our global economy if left unchecked.

Social housing is the focus of this paper, in which we look at the sector and how to address the challenges of social housing investment in Australia.

Why is housing such a challenge?

Few would dispute that housing is a fundamental human need. Yet even in a developed economy like Australia, the provision of stable housing is not guaranteed.

Housing is also an asset class and sits at the intersection of human needs and financial markets. Hence, it is an area where impact investment is uniquely suited to address the challenges society faces in providing shelter to those in need.

Housing affordability is a challenge globally, and is particularly acute in Australia, where demand- and supply-side factors have combined to increasingly push housing beyond the reach of many families.

In the short term, house prices increase because of demand-side factors—government policies encouraging home ownership designed to create financial security for voters, falling interest rates, and wealth inequality that drives demand for certain types of housing.