What Australia can learn from the US about fixing the housing crisis

Australian home owners have been celebrating the upside of a doubling of median house prices in Sydney and Melbourne in recent years.

But the party may come to a crashing end when those same homeowners realise that their schools and hospitals will struggle to find staff who can live close enough to make their jobs worthwhile. Housing is a basic human right and to access it, many essential service workers are already voting with their feet.

Some otherwise desirable parts of our biggest cities have lost up to one in five of their teachers, police and nurses to the city fringes in the decade to 2016, according to a recent University of Sydney study. An earlier report from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development notes that Sydney commuters have already reached the globally-observed “Marchetti constant”: that once people spend, on average, 35 minutes getting to work, they start looking for jobs and opportunities closer to home.

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