Facts sink glib housing supply mantra – the focus must be on affordable rental

As everyone supposedly knows, fixing housing unaffordability is simply a matter of boosting housing supply. But wait! With their just-published report on house-building and population growth, ANU academics Ben Phillips and Cukkoo Joseph have blown yet another hole in that sacred claim.

By comparing housing demand and supply at a sub-regional level, their analysis highlights evidence that in many parts of Australia – not least inner Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – house-building has been running well ahead of local household growth for the past few years. Yet these are hardly areas where prices have dived.

In the City of Sydney, for example, overall median apartment prices rose by 52% in the five years to March 2017. On the ANU analysis, this area has recently been oversupplied relative to population. Yet apartment prices here still rose at the same rate as across Greater Sydney, a region with some areas of undersupply.

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