How migration affects housing affordability

So much of Australia’s history and success is built on immigration. Migrants have benefited incumbent Australians by raising incomes, increasing innovation, contributing to government budgets, smoothing over population ageing and diversifying our social fabric. But it is also true that immigration is affecting house prices and rents.

Australian governments are squandering the gains from migration with poor housing and infrastructure policies. Our new report, Housing affordability: re-imagining the Australian dream, shows what’s at stake. Unless the states reform their planning systems to allow more housing to be built, the Commonwealth should consider tapping the brakes on Australia’s migrant intake.

Immigration has increased housing demand

Australia’s migration policy is its de-facto population policy. The population is growing by about 350,000 a year. More than half of this is due to immigration.

Since 2005, net overseas migration – which includes the increase in temporary migrants – has averaged 200,000 people per year, up from 100,000 in the previous decade. It is predicted to be around 240,000 per year over the next few years.

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