Covid-19 provides opportunity to improve housing policies

Former CHIA Vic board member, Swinburne Professor Terry Burke has been reported as saying the COVID-19 crisis should be viewed as “an opportunity we haven’t really had” since World War II to review and improve the nation’s housing policies.

In an article on news.com.au, Prof Burke said despite predictions that the pandemic could lead to a fall in house prices as much as 30 per cent, the crisis was unlikely to foster a rise in home ownership.

History showed during the global financial crisis, austerity measures and reduced household incomes and investor lending led to sharp fall in home ownership in most western countries.

However, Prof Burke said the pandemic could be an opportunity for Australia to create a “national housing and urban strategy” to develop a “system which has more balance between rental and ownership” tenures.

This should include plans to increase social and public housing supply, make the private rental sector a more attractive long-term prospect for tenants and landlords, and address existing housing and housing-adjacent policies including taxation, migration and urban development.

Prof Burke’s latest AHURI research paper, Australian home ownership: past reflections, future directions is available for download.