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House prices in Australia are soaring, but not because there aren’t enough homes

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It’s tempting to think home prices are soaring because there aren’t enough homes.

But that can’t explain the sudden take-off from about the year 2000, the sudden take-off from about 2013, and again now — against expectations — the stratospheric take-off in the wake of the COVID recession.

Broadly, we’ve enough homes. The 2016 census found we had 12 per cent more dwellings than households, up from 10 per cent in 2001.

That’s 12 per cent of our houses and apartments empty — used as holiday homes and second homes, or waiting for tenants.

If there really weren’t enough homes for people who wanted them, it would be more than property prices soaring; it would be rents.

Instead, overall rents have been barely moving – growing…



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