IS this despite ‘the political lobbying’ by CJ, the UT, the PCA and the UDIA … that the majority will be living in vertical villages … the Housing Ponzi … ?
WHY? We suggest because storey upon storey they make a motzer … and why they call for high immigration to continue …
WITH their SPIN that apartment living is the preferred living option …
WHAT is holding Young Australians back?
Was it John Howard who introduced the Visa Worker to compete for their jobs? The Uni Vice Chancellors seeking the International Student fees? And the lure of buying our Real Estate to gain a ‘Permanent Residency’ Visa?
Key Points …
– 60% aged 18–24 years see home-ownership as the preferred housing option
-between 25 and 34 70% dream of home-ownership
-many acutely aware of the constraints relative to their parents’ generation to home ownership
-a key finding – despite the relative optimism of young Australians to buy a home; a notable disparity in confidence between the tertiary educated and those educated to year 12 and below
-housing and informal sharing with friends and family was common; 34% young adults reported periods of homelessness
Young Australians still want big houses, and are surprisingly sure they’ll get them
Poppy Johnston | 15 August 2019
The Great Australian Dream is still alive and well for many young Australians.
*A new report from Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute found 60 per cent of people aged 18–24 years see home-ownership as the preferred housing option.
*Between 25 and 34, the dream of home-ownership jumps to 70 per cent.
The detached house endures as the preferred type of home for “emerging adults” (18-24 years), with 54 per cent aspiring to live in a house and 34 per cent in an apartment.
Bigger is better for this age bracket, with around 32 per cent wanting four or more bedrooms compared to 30 per cent wanting one or two.
“Early adults” (25-34) also want room for a pony. Sixty-eight per cent aspire to live in a house, compared to 21 per cent in an apartment. Over 43 per cent want four or more bedrooms compared to 22 per cent wanting one or two.
And despite the prominence of housing affordability issues, young Australians seem to have “blind optimism” they will own a home. Nearly a third of emerging adults felt that purchasing a dwelling was a possibility within the next five years and over a third considered owner-occupation as attainable in five to 10 years.
*The remaining third are not-so-confident and did not feel it would be possible to purchase or were not intending to purchase a dwelling. Many were “acutely aware of the constraints relative to their parents’ generation” to home ownership.
*A key finding in the report was despite the relative optimism of young Australians to buy a home, there’s a notable disparity in confidence between the tertiary educated and those educated to year 12 and below.
This divide becomes more prominent in the older age bracket. Nearly 61 per cent with a tertiary educationbelieved it was possible to purchase a home within five years, compared with just 36 per cent of those with a year 12 or below education.
*The report also found that housing instability and informal sharing with friends and family was common, with 34 per cent of young emerging adults who had lived out of the family home reporting periods of homelessness.
The figures suggest more young people will in fact be staying at home longer. Just 17 per cent of emerging adults were living in independent households in 2016-17.
As stalled developments hulk across Australia’s east coast amid the surge in completions:
The AFRreports that desperate developers are offering incentives of up to $90,000 in order to clear their apartment backlog:
Commission payments of between $30,000 and $90,000 – plus extra incentives for multiple sales – are being offered by developers to buyers’ and real estate agents, financial advisers and accountants to sell houses and apartments…
Commissions of 8 per cent are on offer for the first sale with additional deals paying more than 15 per cent, with amounts depending on the agent, property and sales volume that can be guaranteed.
…One in five properties purchased off the plan are revalued at 10 per cent less than the cost price at settlement…
More than half of settlement valuations, which are required for lender funding, are also falling below the contract price, compared to about 20 per cent a year ago…
These incentive deals are flooding the market amid rising vacancy levels as projects started during the height of the property bubble are completed, and as demand evaporates amid growing concerns of dodgy building standards, flammable cladding, as well as falling overseas buyer demand.
CAAN: We suspect though the higher end market is still active through Visa and passport manipulation via Vanuatu, and interest from Singapore; search for reports on this Website
MB: Such incentives are clever tricks enabling a developer to lower a unit’s cost without actually lowering the sticker price and adversely impacting the valuation of apartments already sold in and around the development.
While they might entice some gullible buyers, these incentives won’t overcome the likelihood of many of recent off-the-plan buyers deciding to give up their 10% deposits and walking away from settlement.
The worst is still to come as newly completed apartments flood the market, alongside growing reports of faults and developer bankruptcies.
*Avoid this market like the plague. It carries loads of risk with no upside.
Australia’s recently-appointed Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services Luke Howarth has identified emergency accommodation as the Government’s priority for tackling homelessness in Australia, despite calls from lord mayors and advocacy groups for a focus on one of the causes of the problem: housing affordability.
Chief executive of advocacy group National Shelter, Adrian Pisarski, told RN Breakfast that while there is a need for more emergency accommodation, systemic issues in the housing market must also be addressed.
“We have a very deep and severe housing problem in Australia, and it is the social housing end of it that we have been missing out on.”
“We have dropped our social housing levels from a high in 1991 of 7.1 per cent to a low now of 4.2 per cent and falling,” Mr Pisarski said.
“If we don’t address the problems in the housing system, we will never solve homelessness.”
Have social housing levels in Australia dropped from a high of 7.1 per cent in 1991 to a low of 4.2 per cent today?
RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.
Mr Pisarski’s claim is in the ballpark.
There are multiple ways of measuring social housing levels in Australia.
Fact Check examined data published by federal government agencies the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Productivity Commission, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as well the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and other sources.
Mr Pisarski quoted data published by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute which shows the proportion of public and community housing as a proportion of all Australian households was 7.1 per cent in 1991, and 4.2 per cent in 2016.
The figure of 7.1 per cent is higher than census data and other estimates for that year.
The latest AIHW data, which includes all four main types of social housing and is drawn from state and territory government administrative data, shows that in 2017-18, there were 4.6 social housing dwellings per 100 households in Australia.
While making comparisons across the decades is difficult, the body of data suggests the early ’90s was a high point for social housing levels in Australia, and that the levels now are historically low.
What is social housing?
Social housing is rental housing that is funded or partly funded by government, and owned or managed by the Government or a not-for-profit or non-government organisation.
It is set aside for Australians who have difficulty accessing housing in the private market.
This includes people who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, people living with a disability, those experiencing family and domestic violence, low-income families and Indigenous households.
Tenants in social housing pay rent that is lower than market value, with the remainder subsidised.
Commonwealth funding for social housing is provided to state and territory governments through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, with state and territory governments given primary responsibility for delivering the services.
The term “social housing” includes four main types of accommodation:
Public housing: dwellings owned (or leased) and managed by state and territory housing authorities.
State owned and managed Indigenous housing: dwellings owned and managed by state and territory housing authorities that are allocated only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tenants, including dwellings managed by government Indigenous housing agencies.
Community housing: rental housing managed by community-based organisations that lease properties from government or receive some form of government funding (though some are entirely self-funded).
Indigenous community housing: dwellings owned or leased and managed by Indigenous organisations and community councils. These can also include dwellings funded or managed by government.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2017-18 more than 800,000 Australians live in social housing, in more than 400,000 dwellings across the country.
The majority — 72 per cent — live in government owned and managed public housing, while 20 per cent live in community housing, 4 per cent in Indigenous community housing and 3 per cent in state owned and managed Indigenous housing. (Total equals 99 per cent due to rounding).
Assessing the claim
Social housing levels can be measured in a number of ways. A couple of definitions you’ll need to know:
A social housing “household” can be a single person, or a group of two or more people who usually reside in the same dwelling and share the cost of food and other living essentials.
A “dwelling” is the structure, or space within a structure, where the person or group of people live — whether a house, unit or apartment, caravan or tent.
Fact Check examined figures from a range of official sources, focusing on social housing households and dwellings measured as a proportion of total households and occupied private dwellings in Australia, rather than raw numbers, to account for population growth.
The Commonwealth Government first granted funding to the states for the provision of housing in 1945.
However, census counts of government tenancies were first published in the 1954 census, so Fact Check has taken that as the starting point for assessing the high and low elements of the claim.
While the AIHW data can’t be used to assess the “high in 1991” aspect of the claim, it does show that social housing has fallen into the range of 4 per cent.
Historical census data supports the narrative
To look further back, Fact Check referred to Australian Bureau of Statistics census data from 1954, the first census to count tenants living in governmental housing, to 2016.
Changes to the scope of information collected, differences in the definitions used and presentation of the data over the decades, as well as the self-reported nature of the survey, mean it’s not a perfect measure for this purpose.
However, the data that is available does support the assertion that 1991 was a high point, and recent years a low point, for social housing levels in Australia.
In the Survey of Income and Housing, the ABS also publishes data on the proportion of households renting from state and territory housing authorities, from a selection of 15 years between 1994–95 and 2017–18.
This data excludes public housing households in very remote areas, and doesn’t include community housing, so it is not representative of all social housing.
What the remaining data does show is a fall in the proportion of households renting from state and territory authorities, from a high of 6 per cent in 1995-96 to a low of 3.1 per cent in 2017-18.
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute data
In response to Fact Check’s request for sources to support his claim, Mr Pisarski provided a 2017 research brief published by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), a national research network.
The figures, as quoted by Mr Pisarski, show public housing alone accounting for 7.1 per cent of all households in Australia in 1991, falling to 4.2 per cent (including both public and community housing) in 2016.
The AHURI data refers only to public and community housing, omitting Indigenous community housing and state owned and managed Indigenous community housing, which according to the AIHW accounted for around 7 per cent of social housing in 2017-18.
The AHURI data is also based on census data, which is based on self-reported answers from householders, as opposed to AIHW and Productivity Commission data, which is drawn from government administrative data.
The figure of 7.1 per cent was higher than the census data (at 5.6 per cent), and experts told Fact Check it was higher than their own estimates.
It is fair to say that based on the datasets presented above, there has been a continuing downward trend in social housing levels since 1991.
Judith Yates, an honorary associate in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney, told Fact Check the figures may continue to fall.
“On the basis of current household projections, it is quite possible that the estimate of 4.2 per cent will not be the lowest point reached unless there is a dramatic reversal in the current trend of net new additions to the social housing stock,” Dr Yates said.
“Unless current social housing production increases considerably, it is reasonable to say that its share will continue to fall.”
*Carmela Chivers, an associate at the Grattan Institute, told Fact Check the stock of social housing has “barely grown in 20 years, while Australia’s population has increased by 33 per cent“.
*Terry Burke, Professor of Housing Studies at Swinburne University Centre for Urban Transitions, told Fact Check the “rate of investment in social housing — as either public or community housing — hasn’t kept pace with the overall growth of population or of the total dwelling stock”.
The transfer of public housing to community housing
The decline has been particularly prominent for public housing — accommodation owned and managed by state and territory governments — over the last decade.
*In addition to a proportional decrease, Productivity Commission data shows there has been a decrease in the raw number of public housing dwellings, from around 362,000 in 1996-97 to 316,000 in 2017-18.
*Part of this decline has been offset by an increase in community housing, with the number of dwellings in that sector rising from around 15,000 in 1996-97 to around 88,000 in 2017-18.
*This partly reflects the transfer of some public housing stock to the community housing sector, in line with changes in government policy, as well as new growth in community housing stock.
Professor Burke of Swinburne University told Fact Check that “community housing is now seen as the future of the social housing sector, and as such the growth sector”.
*“Unlike public housing, community housing agencies can access Commonwealth Rent Assistance.”
“This means community housing agencies have a higher income stream from rent than public housing.”
Supply not keeping up with demand
*As of 30 June 2018, there were more than 140,000 applicants on the waiting list for public housing, and close to 9,000applicants on the waiting list for state owned and managed Indigenous dwellings.
InJune 2017, there were more than 38,000 applicants on the waiting list for mainstream community housing. Recent figures for Indigenous community housing were unavailable.
People may be on more than one waitlist, so these numbers may be an overestimate of the total.
However, the figures still suggest high numbers of Australians in need of social housing, with around 50,000 people (based on 2017 and 2018 figures) considered in “greatest need” — including people who are already homeless, at imminent risk of homelessness, or whose life or safety is at risk in their current accommodation.
Auction clearance rates continue to strengthen, with the preliminary rate nationally rising above 70% and Sydney’s rising above 80% …
But who is buying with the ongoing lack of available credit, and the deteriorating economy in Australia?
Perhaps these following articles explain who is buying Our Real Estate aided by the Morrison Government exempting the Real Estate Sector from the Anti-Money Laundering Rules in October 2018 … you think?
Auction clearance rates continue to strengthen, with the preliminary rate nationally rising above 70% and Sydney’s rising above 80%:
As shown below, the preliminary national auction clearance rate rose to 70.4% versus 68.3% last weekend. Clearances were also way above the 54.9% recorded in the same weekend last year:
Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate rose to 81.2% – above last weekend’s 74.8% preliminary rate and way above the 53.8% recorded in the same weekend last year.
However, Melbourne’s preliminary clearance rate of 73.2% was roughly the same as last weekend (73.3%), but also well above the same weekend last year (58.0%).
Auction volumes (1,107) were also well below last year’s 1,402, suggesting the auction market is not as strong as the clearance rates suggest.
Therefore, while the strong bounce in clearance rates is pointing to prices rebounding strongly, it is likely to be muted given the low volumes, the ongoing lack of available credit, and the deteriorating economy:
You’re a young mum with three kids. The abuse from your partner is getting worse. One day you wake up and you realise you can’t live like this anymore and neither can your kids.
You ask for help at your local specialist homelessness service, but all the crisis accommodation is full and their hands are tied. The only emergency option left is a seedy motel.
You don’t have cooking facilities for meals. You don’t have a car or money for public transport, but even if you did, you’re an hour’s drive from the kids’ school and daycare.
This is a picture we should not be seeing, but still do, all too often. The reality is that Australia is failing women such as this who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.Our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our aunties. These are the women who care for us throughout our lives, but too many of them are being let down by the system when they need support the most.
Last year, specialist homelessness services nationally assisted 121,100 clients who had experienced domestic and family violence. This means family violence is a reality for more than four out of 10 clients.
This number was driven upwards by increases in Victoria and New South Wales.
In New South Wales the number of clients who had experienced family violence rose by 4 per cent to 26,630. In Victoria the same number grew by 13 per cent to 56,724. Almost all of the adults were female and more than a third were under 18.
Many younger women are also facing homelessness, fleeing family situations that are unsafe or leaving out-of-home care straight into homelessness.
Too often they don’t have any option other than a rooming house or to take a room where the rent is cheap, but sex is part of the deal. This is not a Hollywood movie about overcoming adversity, where we all get to enjoy the heartwarming happy ending. This is the grim reality for far too many women in this country.
Of those nationally who experienced family violence and were already homeless but sought help from homelessness services, just over half were still homeless at the end of the process. It’s hard to accept. More than half.
While the bulk of women asking for help were aged 25 to 34, we also know that homelessness is affecting women across the life cycle.
After years of perhaps caring for children or other family members, being paid less than men when working and inevitably not having the safety net of decent superannuation, women over 55 make up the fastest growing demographic group experiencing homeless.
Every day we read the headlines in the newspaper about the heat of rental markets in the big cities, especially Sydney and Melbourne. Social security payments simply do not represent any sort of “safety net” at any level in relation to costs of living, especially housing.
Rental markets are mostly unaffordable to those on middle-incomes, let alone someone on Newstart or receiving single parenting payments. Indeed, current campaigns begging the federal government to lift Newstart (at the very least) above the poverty line, are both urgent and extremely timely. Motels and crisis accommodation are packed to the rafters due to bottlenecks in the system, because there’s nowhere to move on to. This does not count as giving women and children a home.
Homelessness is not just rooflessness.
Living in a motel or accommodation designed for a short stay does not alleviate the trauma to your kids of being without a home.Not being able to cook a meal, having to move far away from your supports, friends and family, your kids’ school and their mates, these are the realities of what Australian women are facing when they end up without a home.
Without national strategy and supporting state and territory-based strategies to end homelessness, this problem will not get better.
*It will continue to get worse at a faster rate as the population increases,inflation soars and property markets continue to be impenetrable.
*The cornerstone of these strategies must be more social housing. We cannot house people without homes. Homes that are safe, appropriate and affordable.
*At the intersection of poverty and domestic violence is the almost inevitable outcome of homelessness. The stark reality is that we are failing women and now, during National Homelessness Week, we need to raise our voices and say this is not okay on any level, whether human, economic, political or otherwise.
IS the real battle happening elsewhere? Like in boardrooms and cabinet offices … about how efficiently can the public sector divest themselves of assets in the inner city suburbs, and justify saying they are spending the proceeds elsewhere?
DO we notice there’s no mention of people, social responsibility, community and reducing the backlog of the housing wait list?
The eccentric birdman who’s beating Australia’s biggest landlord
Peter “Pierre” Gawronski, a public housing tenant, was summoned to a meeting with NSW housing officials last week. He arrived with Caesar, a rainforest parrot, on his shoulder.
Peter Gawronski has won at least 10 cases at tribunal in the past three years
Public housing blocks like his have recently been sold off in inner-city Sydney
David Bott, another housing tenant, received an electric shock but had to wait 14 years for the problem to be fully fixed
*“It’s all right, he won’t bite you,” Mr Gawronski told the officials, trying to put everyone at ease.
*Caesar didn’t bite. Instead, he ambled across the table, up and onto the shoulders of one of the housing officials, and opened his peach-yellow beak and regurgitated his breakfast onto the hand of one of the men sitting opposite.
Mr Gawronski shuffled in his seat. “He actually likes you, it’s a term of endearment,” he said.
Recently, the so-called “birdman” has become known for more than just Caesar. He’s won at least 10 legal actions against the NSW Land and Housing Corporation in three years at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
He accomplished this while representing himself, with no computer, no legal training, and armed only with a high school education.
“Tenants are very reluctant to actually say anything to housing, but because I walk around with Caesar on my shoulder everyone speaks to me — they fall in love with Caesar, he charms them and they’ll tell me everything,” he said.
His actions have resulted in real change for his neighbours. Earlier this year, the housing department was ordered to undertake a full review of the waste management on the site and is now considering overhauling garbage disposal at the 70-year-old buildings.
Prosecuting a case can prove costly for many public housing tenants, according to Leo Patterson Ross, a policy officer from the Tenants Union of NSW.
“A tenant in public housing is an individual going up against the largest landlord in Australia,” he said.
When he woke up, he was confused and tangled in the shower curtain with a hole in his elbow. He’d received a severe electric shock.
Water leaks had touched live wires and electrified the handrail.
Mr Bott was furious. He had told his landlord about the water leaks and little had been done.
*It took the department another 14 years to finally fix the problem. In total, he said he complained around 20 times over those years, even taking his cases to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and getting orders against the department.
“Realistically it would have been far cheaper for me to pay a building crew to come in and fix my property,” he said.
*But even the tribunal orders failed to make the department fix the problem. Mr Bott eventually resorted to pursuing the department for contempt.
“I couldn’t breathe in captivity unfortunately and the closest I’m going to have to children or family are my birds,” he said.
He admitted he has had run-ins with the law including assault and drug charges from the 1980s and another assault charge just two years ago, after an argument with a neighbour.
He has also clashed with housing officials, receiving two warning letters, including one for threatening an officer — an allegation he denies.
“I’ve never been aggressive once, I’ve never ever threatened them,” he said.
Mr Gawronski’s biggest fear is that his home will be taken away from him. His estate, which sits in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the hands of the right developer.
In recent years, the NSW Government has resorted to selling off ageing inner-city public housing to raise money and build new, modern, housing.
Earlier this year, the Sirius building — a former public housing block in The Rocks — was sold for $150 million. In the nearby waterfront suburb of Millers Point, 189 public housing properties have been sold for a combined $600 million.
The NSW Department of Communities and Justice, responsible for housing, insist there are no plans to sell Mr Gawronski’s estate.
Like those in Yarra City Melbourne many young
families live in ‘The Flour Mill’ at Summer Hill …
We visited there recently this year, 2019 … and took a pictorial tour.
A little background on how the push for high-rise vertical villages came about … In 2012 with the planning law changes of the O’Farrell Government … the subliminal message was “Sydney is growing … we have to have higher density … high-rise … to meet the supply.”
What they didn’t mention was they had a World-wide market to target through the Foreign Investment Review Board ruling allowing developers to sell 100% to overseas buyers particularly in China to capture their High Net Worth …
Apartment blocks and towers began to pop up all over Sydney … not much else was being built …
With thousands of buyers flying in every week Sydneysiders found home sales and auctions being taken over by lots of new people, and the price of housing escalated …
Chris Johnson CEO of developer lobby Urban
Taskforce has written numerous media releases to sell their ‘business model’ …
Here is an example …
ceo urban taskforce wrote
Let’s embrace high-rise living for families, not be fearful
By Chris Johnson
September 19, 2018
‘Families living in apartments – “vertical families” – have been on a sharp rise since the turn of the 21st century. In fact, for a significant proportion of families across the globe, particularly in neighbouring mainland and southeast Asia, apartment living has become the preferred living option; with access to services, security and value-for-money being cited as major drawing cards.
There is strong evidence to suggest that Australia is following our neighbours.
An analysis of the census data shows that in 2016 20 per cent of apartments were occupied by two-parent families, with a further 8 per cent lived in by single parent families. An increasing number of these have no intention of “upgrading” to a freestanding house.
THE common Sydney perception has been that apartments
are not family friendly but OK for singles or couples. But the most recent
figures show more and more families opting for apartment living writes Chris Johnson. …
The results of the 2016 Census, however, show that Sydney is in the middle of a boom in families moving into apartments. Recent research by demographers McCrindle for the Urban Taskforce using the Census data has shown that there are now 87,000 apartments in Sydney occupied by families. This is well up on the 65,000 in the previous census in 2011. …
Two thirds of the parents are young, aged between 23 and 37 and 61 per cent of them are renting their apartment. By 2024 the research indicates that a third of all Sydney apartments will be occupied by families.
WHY is this so? Is it because they were not building anything much else from 2012 to 2015 … ? With market concentration on the overseas buyers?
Storey upon storey … deve-lopers make a motzer … each 2-bed unit build costs
And sell for? Ranging between
$700,000 up to $1M?
THIS is the ‘business model’ based on a continuing stream of high-rise … get in get rich quick … a business model that has nothing to do with ‘community’ …
Australia used to have home ownership enjoyed by as many as 70 per cent of our people … this too has been eroded …
From the Unconventional Economist … ‘Future Sydney residents are also projected to be squeezed into high-risedog box apartments, according to projections from the Urban Development Institute of Australia …
So basically, the GSC is running a form of economic apartheid whereby Western Sydney shoulders the lion’s share of immigration and population growth to provide cheap foreign labour and inflated demand to the wealthy barons in the East.
This model enables the Elites in the East to profit from the rentier services of over-priced ghetto apartments and postage stamp houses, inflated land banks, as well as higher volumes of mortgages and retail sales, while not having to share in the downsides of congestion and eroded amenity.‘
SYDNEY … why should we be resigned to this? Have we been brainwashed? Their ‘Business Model’ is increasingly proving to be structurally unsound, defective, and dangerous … and what’s more they are putting the cost of rectification back on the owners … having phoenixed …!
CAAN Photo: a lovely tree-lined street in Summer Hill with original cottages
UP the road, the Flour Mill … we heard stories back in 2013 of local residents being harassed by developers to sell out … to get out of their way …
CAAN Photo: The Flour Mill Summer Hill cold grey concrete towers
CAAN Photo: Living on top of one another yet isolated in each ‘hole in the wall’
CAAN Photo: Grey and bleak; a little hedging is growing. The industrial mill buildings at least provide some interest and are well built!
CAAN Photo: Futuristic? Some colour contrast but ugly.
CAAN Photo X 2: a central courtyard surrounded by stark apartment towers
CAAN Photo: As we wandered around we saw many young families; young professionals, and yet unlike earlier generations this is all ‘they can get’!
CAAN Photo: A drain/canal runs through the Precinct, and here are the foundations of this building; one reflects on the photos of apartment towers in Shanghai that have collapsed with the foundations attached to the building … will it happen in Sydney too?
CAAN Photo: A little park to provide some respite from the concrete and glass. There is a kindergarten nearby … and this is all they can get?
CAAN will later provide a little story on what is happening in Sydney’s Inner West …
KEY POINTS …
-2016 Census families represented nearly half of apartment residents
-1 in 10 children aged 0 – 4 live in apartments
–City of Yarra, Melbourne apartments represent 46% of available housing
-what brought families together was their children were born at the same time to form a mothers group
-parents connections could then be lost when some left this community in search of larger homes and outdoor space
–design of developments discourage incidental social interaction
–closeness of apartments was also problematic with concerns of overstepping others’ boundaries esp. with short-term renters without children.
Apartment life for families means living at close quarters, but often feeling isolated too
August 5, 2019
Elyse Warner Lecturer in Health and Social Sciences, Deakin University
Newer high-rise developments in Australia’s inner-city areas are increasingly home to parents raising young children.
In the 2016 Census, family households represented nearly half of apartment residents. Close to one in ten children aged 0-4 live in apartments in Australia.
Our research, recently published in Health and Place, explored parents’ experiences of raising preschool-aged children in newer, private high-rise apartments. The parents experienced a range of barriers to making social connections both within their developments and with the surrounding community.
This reflects the fact that most newer high-rise dwellings in Australia have been developed for residents without children. Several studies indicate that this leads to potential issues for families raising children in high-rise settings, including social connectedness among older schoolchildren.
Apartment living through parents’ eyes
Our study used Photovoice to explore parents’ experiences of raising children in apartments in the City of Yarra, Melbourne. Apartments represent 46% of available housing) in this inner-city municipality. Parents took ten photographs of the positive and challenging aspects of apartment living.
We then used these images to guide both individual and group interviews. Parents recognised that the shared experiences of raising a young child in the City of Yarra fostered social connections, particularly at mothers’ groups and local parks. One parent explained:
So this is my mothers’ group … It’s such a great community to have. I mean we’re kind of a close group now and we’ve just spent the last year growing our kids together … there was people from all different walks of life … and the only thing connecting us is just that we had a child in Yarra at the same time …
Butparents felt that space constraints in high-rise developments limited opportunities for play dates between children. The connections parents developed were also lost when other families planned to leave the community, or had already left, in search of larger homes and outdoor space.
The design of developments did not encourage incidental social interaction with neighbours either. One parent captured this in a photograph titled “Hallway of death”.
It’s a nothing space, right? … You cannot stand and have a conversation there, you feel weird … cos you’re in the vortex of death … and if it was a nice space we might go out and he could crawl and that might make people stop and maybe we’d get to know the other people living on the floor …
The closeness of apartments was also problematic. On one hand, parents wanted to connect with their neighbours. On the other hand, they were concerned about overstepping others’ boundaries, particularly when neighbours were often short-term renters without children.
One parent’s photograph, “Close proximity but anonymous”, captured this.
… despite being so close to each other there is a huge level of anonymity … It would be nice to not feel that we might be being disruptive or people are forming judgments about us based on what they see … And because it’s anonymous and there’s a lot of turnover you never really form relationships with people to know what they’re really thinking, so you second-guess it …
Everyone wants some privacy and maybe when you’re right on top of each other you feel like you’ve got to guard your privacy, but my preference would be for it to be a little more connected than it is.
Recent Victorian apartment design guidelines briefly acknowledge the importance of ensuring accessibility for families with young children. However, much more can be done to support families in inner-city high-rise developments. This includes fostering social connections.
Local governments can provide further social events in their communities, create infrastructure in parks and playgrounds to encourage families to gather for longer, and require developers to adopt more family-friendly design guidelines than currently apply.
Developers could also provide more favourable communal spaces inside dwellings for interaction to occur. Body corporate organisations could encourage longer-term leases that allow for the extended tenure needed for residents to form stronger connections.
Guidelines, including in regards to noise, could also be made more flexible to accommodate the increasing number of families with young children taking up residence.
The study was carried out with Dr Fiona Andrews from the School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University.
Governments should lease land free of charge to the superannuation industry so more funds can invest in social housing, a former Frasers Property manager has told The New Daily.
Robert Pradolin, who runs Housing All Australians – a not-for-profit dedicated to encouraging private-sector investment in affordable and social housing – said the emerging build-to-rent sector had the potential to improve affordability.
*And so governments need to provide financial incentivesto encourage super funds and other private sector enterprises to invest in social and affordable housing in Australia, rather than chasing higher returns in built-to-rent initiatives overseas, Mr Pradolin said.
“What costs the government effectively nothing, but adds a huge value in terms of getting a sector up and running? It comes down to land supply,” he said.
“If state and federal governments are serious about bridging the shortfall in our supply of non-market housing, and encouraging the private sector to build to rent … [they should] give the market a very clear and easy thing to digest, and offer land for 40 years for $1.
“The [super funds] would then need to come back and offer a mix of build-to-rent housing, where 70 per cent is allowed to be private, and 30 per cent needs to be affordable, for different income levels.
“The winning bid would then be the one that provides the most value in affordable housing.”
By eliminating land costs from the equation,governments would make investing in affordable housing financially viable for a large number of super funds which, in turn, would improve affordability, Mr Pradolin said.
But without the government offering financial incentives, the sector wouldn’t get off the ground, as the returns wouldn’t be high enough to entice super funds to invest.
“To me, it’s very simple,” Mr Pradolin said.
“And there’s enough land for us if we are serious about this strategy.”
ButUniversity of New South Wales housing researcher Laurence Troy said direct government investment in housing was a better way to improve affordability, as the obligation to deliver profit to members and shareholders made it inherently difficult for super funds and the private sector to build affordable housing.
“From an affordability point of view, the market can’t deliver,” Dr Troy told The New Daily.
“We know that, and that’s why we don’t have enough affordable and social housing. So [direct government investment] has to be part of the strategy.
“And in the 1950s governments were building something like 15,000 per year … so the precedent is there.”
Mr Pradolin’s and Dr Troy’s comments come after superannuation fund HESTA announced it would invest $20 million in a joint, affordable housing initiative with Nightingale Housing and not-for-profit Social Ventures Australia.
The fourth in a series of six-architecturally designed buildings in Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner north, the 185-unit project will allocate 60 per cent of the apartments to the general public, 20 per cent to nurses and other “key contribution workers”, and a further 20 per cent to community housing providers that will offer them at below-market rent to “eligible clients”.
We have committed $20m through our Social Impact Investment Trust to Nightingale Village, a carbon neutral residential apartment development based in Brunswick that aims to help improve housing affordability & sustainability. http://bit.ly/2YwnQ8I @Social_Ventures
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the aim of the initiative was to provide affordable housing to community workers close to major infrastructure.
“Having a home is a fundamental element of financial security and societal connection and the lack of affordable homes close to major infrastructure is a huge issue for the community and our members,” she said in a statement.
“We want to prove that you can invest to achieve returns for members and help address big social challenges like housing affordability.”
The investment was “a very positive move” and would hopefully encourage other funds to follow suit, according to Mr Pradolin.
“HESTA has always been ahead of the curve in terms of affordable housing,” he said.
“But $20 million isn’t much, so it’s not going to make any difference other than to start the process.”
Newstart recipient Karryn Smith, 58, considers herself “one of the lucky ones”, yet the former school teacher is living out of her car.
Every night, Ms Smith searches for somewhere safe to park, and with any luck, will find a spot near a public toilet that keeps its doors unlocked overnight.
Public showers are a “rare” find, so she’ll sometimes go without.
Finding a comfortable hotel, let alone a permanent rental, has been impossible on just $20 a day.
“At the moment, I don’t see a future. You hear of people they find dead and with nobody there, I sort of think, is that how I’m going to end up?” Ms Smith said.
“There’s nothing that you can look forward to, being in my situation. You just sort of exist I guess.”
Ms Smith shared her tragic story with The New Daily, as pressure continued to mount on the Morrison government to lift the dole payment by $75 a week amid evidence Newstart recipients are struggling to survive.