ARE we being shown the way?

In Australia … rents continued to increase Nationally to early in 2019 …

BERLIN has frozen rents for the next five years from January 20202!

-because Berliners staged affordable housing demonstrations

BERLIN wants to avoid International HNW parking their money in real estate

SADLY the Libs ‘Fear and Lies Campaign’ and the $60M UAP billboards duped many … whereas the LABOR Party had policies to address housing affordability … through changes to neg gearing (grandfathering established investments to encourage investment in new homes) and to introduce the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation for the Real Estate Sector … problem solved!

Millennial: Hey we get it Scomo … if you can’t afford a home get a better paying job, or move to the country …that’ll solve it …

MILLENNIALS take heed!

Can’t Afford Sydney And Melbourne Rent? Let’s Do What Berlin Just Did

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James Norman

Writer, editor and author

Tue 09 Jul 2019

In Australia, the reality of paying more than half your weekly salary in rent, or having rent increases imposed midway through rental tenancies has become a normal part of life for many, particularly Millennials.

For Australia’s more than 2.6 million renters, despite modest falls in the overall property market in the past 12 months, rents continued to increase nationally in the first quarter of 2019.

It is a trend reflected in many cities all over the world, as the wealth disparity between rich landowners and poorer renters continues to grow.

But what can cities or local governments do about it?

Berlin City Council has recently hit upon a neat plan to try to stem the rising tide of gentrification that has seen the average rents in the German capital double in the past decade.

*It recently voted to freeze rents in Berlin for the next five years from January 2020 (with a retrospective clause intended to stop any opportunistic property owners from jacking up the prices in the meantime).

Berlin will freeze rents for five years to combat skyrocketing prices. (Image: Getty)

In a city where 85 percent of the population rent rather than own their own home — and more than 40,000 people have moved to the city from elsewhere in the past decade — many experts say Berlin is in the midst of an affordability housing crisis. 

In 2017 a staggering 20.5 percent average rent increase in Berlin was reported to be the biggest year-on-year rent increase anywhere in the world.

READ MORE: People On Centrelink Can Afford Literally Zero Percent Of Rental Properties In Australia

READ MORE: Why The Government Doesn’t Care That You Can’t Afford A Home

I recall when I first moved to Berlin in 2000 it lived up to the reputation former Mayor Klaus Wowereit once described it as : “poor, but sexy”. It was still recovering from the fall of the Berlin wall in November 1991 which gave way to empty city buildings being turned into semi-legal rave spaces, galleries and political art projects — and it was possible to rent an entire small apartment for as little as €100 (A$160) a week.

But, as I have returned almost every year ever since for work and travel, eventually even Berlin began to visibly change. Waves of cashed-up tourists arrived from all over the world on budget airfares looking to relive that dream — without really caring about its political or social underpinnings.

A Berlin club in a large former factory area converted into artists studios, performances spaces, galleries, bars, restaurants and clubs. (Image: Getty)

*Local Berliners suddenly felt outnumbered by tourists in their own city — and many were being priced out of their own homes by Airbnb and short stay entrepreneurs jacking up the property market. In short, the popularity of the city resulted in a rapid population growth and the city was unable to keep up with the demand.

READ MORE: Forget Millennials, This Group Has The Hardest Time Getting A Roof Over Their Heads

READ MORE: Landlords’ Pet Peeves: Renters To Get More Rights

**But over the past few years Berliners have begun revolting staging affordable housing demonstrations all over the city brandishing signs with slogans like ‘Homes for people not property for profit’, including a large one last April in Alexanderplatz.

*Now the Berlin City Council has listened by taking the relatively radical step of rent freezing. But not everyone is happy about itBloomberg has warned that “capping rents threatens to scare away investment, stalling anything from upgrading windows to constructing much-needed new apartments.”

Over the past few years Berliners have begun revolting against rising rents. (Image: Getty)
In 2017 a staggering 20.5 percent average rent increase in Berlin was reported to be the biggest year-on-year rent increase anywhere in the world. (Image: Getty)

But many Berliners would prefer to keep foreign investors out than have their city lose its more grungy, arty, community-oriented edge. Late in 2018, Berliners managed to fight off attempts by Google to set up a start-up campus worth €500 million (A$804.1 million) in the city’s traditional progressive heart of Kreutzberg after it was vehemently opposed by local activists.

READ  MORE: Public Housing Wait List Is 82,500 And Growing By 500 Each Month

CAAN: Our research revealed that 190,000 were on the Public Housing Waiting List! Search our Website to find out more!

READ MORE: A Landlord Is Renting Out A Home To Two Cats

*Like major Australian cities and many other international cosmopolitan destinations, Berlin wants to avoid the fate of becoming a city where international super-rich investors simply park their money in cheap property (apartments in Berlin are still about a third of the price of those in London or Paris) and watch their investments grow while ordinary residents are priced out of the market.

In Australia, parts of our cities like Docklands in Melbourne are becoming what has been dubbed ‘global capital reserve shelters’dominated by medium-density ‘off-the-plan’ investment property strips. A recent report found that more than 16 percent  of Melbourne’s apartments remain empty as investors simply wait for the market to improve to sell them off.

Areas like the Docklands in Melbourne are becoming increasingly dominated by medium-density ‘off-the-plan’ investment property strips. (Image: Getty)
Berlin’s rental price freeze would be a great step that I can only wish Australian political leaders would have the bravery and foresight to emulate. (Image: Getty)

Meanwhile, the Anglicare 2019 Rental Affordability Snapshot found that the ability of low-income earners in Australia to find affordable housing is lower than ever — finding that just 2.2 percent of rental properties on the market would be affordable to a single person on minimum wage.

READ MORE: You Shouldn’t Have To Wait For Your Folks To Die To Buy A House

READ MORE: Is Renting Really Dead Money? Not Always If You Invest Right

That’s why Berlin’s rental price freeze would be a great step that I can only wish Australian political leaders would have the bravery and foresight to emulate — rather than simply allowing the market to dictate housing prices,

Unfortunately, in a country like Australia where both major parties seem beholden to the ethos of neo-liberalism and free market economics at the expense of the housing rights of local people — that wish seems like a distant dream in 2019.