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Housing crisis in Australia may have bigger implications

Lack of housing for millennials in Australia may lead to bigger problems

A housing crisis concerning millennials is looming large over Australia that has the potential to be harmful for the country in general, because of the consequent fallout. These are the views expressed by a leading UK expert who has warned that less housing for millennials may have broader repercussions which may go beyond housing and enter the larger realm of society and country, as a whole, since it will trigger a number of social problems.

This rising disparity between the millennials and the house owners because of the shooting house prices may turn into anger among them the millennials, resulting in their support for extremist groups, divisions in society and damaging levels of alienation, said Oona Goldsworthy, the chief executive of UK housing association United Communities who is in Australia to take part in a major Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) conference to start in Sydney.

She favoured more community land trusts and non-profit corporations for the benefit of the local community offering housing and commercial spaces so that there is more housing for those aged between 20 and 35. She said that if millennials are satisfied, they are nice, but they would be difficult to contain, if angry. In that case, there will be no limit to which it may go, resulting in damages to the society. Goldsworthy said that it is important to set aside funds for housing for millennials as they have no or little capital with them.

The problem, she said, was acute in Australia as it ranks only below the UAE in terms of millennial housing according to recent global survey by HSBC bank. With millennial home ownership at second-lowest in the world, it is shocking for a country with so much land and less population. In Australia, only 28 per cent of young Australians own a home, compared with the global average of 40 per cent. The general home ownership in the country fell from over 70 per cent in 2006 to 61 per cent in 2016 even when the private rental system in the country has doubled over the same period. She said that all this has a big impact on the economy and the young citizens are forced to leave cities, delay families and there is inequality and resentment between generations, saying that the housing sector is not going to be solved entirely by the private sector.

While in the country, she will meet local authorities, developers, academics working in development and housing policy and community housing associations developing projects to discuss the issues which millennials are facing. According to her, expanding the ethical market rental, with affordable listings is the key to the crisis and there could be micro-homes or mixed housing for solving the problem.

She said that millennials want a place of their own and feel safe and secure, just like everybody else. She said that the millennials do not necessarily want house ownership, but co-housing with shared facilities is fine. She added that unused spaces in the cities can be utilized for housing which are quicker and cheaper options till the major long-term developments take place.

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