There has been a lot of focus in the (social)media lately about housing affordability with Fremantle Greens senator Scott Ludlam calling for an end to negative gearing, and one of the leading Australian economists, Saul Estlake of the Bank of America Merryl Lynch, saying that house prices cause social and economic harm in Australia.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt has kept us regularly updated on his blog about housing in some of Europe’s most liveable cities and it is interesting to note that the City of Berlin has put a ceiling on rents, while other cities monitor and refuse to accept the sale of over-priced residential properties and force owners to lower prices. I know that will sound a bit too socialist to most of us in Australia, but Germany is governed by the conservatives, so that makes it even more remarkable.
The fundamental principle of Germany, one of the leading economies in the world, is to keep housing costs stable and affordable and that is partly done by regular release of more land.
Residential property and rental prices affect a huge number of people in Australia and I was amazed to see this morning that wealthy Australia shamefully ranks tenth on the list of nations with people living under the poverty line, a staggering 14 per cent in ‘the best country on earth’.