Housing News Digest

RobertThe Tenants' Union Housing News Digest compiles our pick of items from all the latest tenancy and housing media. It is sent every Monday and Thursday at 10am. 

Below is the Digest archive from November 2020 onwards. From time to time you will find additional items in the archive that did not make it into the twice weekly Digest email. Earlier archives are here, where you can also find additional digests by other organisations. 

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See notes about the Digest and a list of other contributors here. Many thanks to those contributors for sharing links with us.

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Elderly Australians ditch residential aged care for home care during pandemic

Dana Daniel and Jennifer Duke
The Sydney Morning Herald (Paywall)

The number of elderly Australians receiving home care has almost overtaken the number of people living in residential aged care after a boost to packages during the pandemic, but tens of thousands are still waiting. The Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services, to be published on Tuesday, shows that the total number of home care packages hit 236,554 last financial year, while the population of residential aged care remained stable at 243,117 despite an ageing population. The report also shows a decline in spending on public housing. ... [But] The overall spend on social housing, including state-owned and managed Indigenous housing, increased to $4.5 billion from $4.3 billion. ... Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has promised that if Labor wins the upcoming federal election he will put $10 billion into a future fund to help with housing affordability, including building 30,000 social housing and affordable housing units for essential workers. You will find a link to the Productivity Commission's report at: [https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services]


# Australia, Public-and-community-housing, Affordable housing, Housing market, Older people.

Almost half of people seeking help for homelessness in NSW in past year did not get it, report finds

Stephanie Convery
The Guardian (No paywall)

Nearly half of all people who sought help with homelessness last year in New South Wales did not get it, a new report has shown. According to data from the Productivity Commission’s annual report on government services, 48.2% of people in Australia’s most populous state who asked for accommodation assistance from specialist homelessness services in the 2020-2021 financial year went without. That figure represents a substantial increase from five years ago, when 37.2% of people did not receive the help they had requested. You will find a link to the Productivity Commission's report at: [https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services]


# Australia, Homelessness, Housing market.

Maximising for coolth: How a popular Sydney park will create its own cool microclimate

Julie Power
The Sydney Morning Herald (Paywall)

Coolth. The word isn’t used as often as warmth. That could change with a $6 million pilot project – thought to be a world first – that will use artificial intelligence to reduce summer temperatures at a major Sydney park by up to four degrees compared to the surrounding precinct. Under the project, Bicentennial Park’s 40 hectares in Sydney Olympic Park will become a cooler microclimate, a green respite for the 80,000 people who by 2023 will live or work there every day.


# NSW, Climate change, Planning and development.

Even pricey city-centre flats help everyone move up the property ladder

Torsten Bell
The Guardian (No paywall)

High housing costs are a disaster for living standards, costing private renters more than 30% of their income and giving London the highest poverty rate in the UK. The economists’ answer is to build more homes in high-cost areas, but that’s easier said than done. Developments are often opposed from the right, for reducing local house prices, and the left, as gentrification. Opponents accurately say city-centre developers build for richer customers. But the lasting impact of construction goes beyond the immediate effect of who moves into that property, with the new owner moving out of their existing home and creating an opportunity for someone else. As that continues, it means building in one area can help reduce costs elsewhere. But does that happen in practice?


# International, Housing market.

How co-operative housing gave me the peace of mind I thought I’d never find

Rosie Collington
The Guardian (No paywall)

Denmark’s system offers tenants a chance to escape grasping landlords and own an affordable stake in a community ... Across many countries, and big cities in particular, the prospect of homeownership or access to socially rented housing is a pipe dream. Median house prices have risen to more than seven times median incomes in the Anglo-Saxon economies. In the UK, the proportion of 25- to 35-year-olds on middle incomes who owned a home plummeted from two-thirds to just one-quarter between 1996 and 2016. Meanwhile, the costs of renting, from Sydney to San Francisco, have soared. Then, in July 2021, I moved with my Danish partner into one of Copenhagen’s many andelsboliger, a co-operatively owned block of flats where we neither have a landlord nor pay rent, and which is not subject to market prices. Today, about 7% of the Danish population live in a form of co-operatively owned housing – and it accounts for one-third of the housing stock in Copenhagen. It soon became clear to me that there’s a lot that other countries could learn.


# International, Public-and-community-housing, Housing market, International.

English Island Seeks a Landlord-King Who Likes Solitude, Seals and Beer

Alan Yuhas
The Guardian (No paywall)

Overseeing a small island dominated by a castle, seals and a pub, an English council is searching for a new king or queen. ... The job listing, posted last week by the Barrow Borough Council in Cumbria, is technically seeking someone to run the pub on Piel Island, half a mile off England’s northwestern coast. Winters are wet, travel is limited and an eccentric tradition of naming a king survives at the island’s old pub.


# International, Landlords and agents.

‘Everyone In’ court challenge fails despite judge highlighting ‘elusiveness’ to government messaging

Lucie Heath
Inside Housing (Paywall)

From the United Kingdom ... A legal challenge against the government over its scheme to house rough sleepers during the pandemic has been unsuccessful, with the judge stating the debate “belongs in the arenas of public opinion and politics” rather than the courts. In a judgement published this week, a High Court judge said there was an “elusiveness” and “ambiguity” in the government’s communication on the "Everyone In" initiative, but rejected the claim that ministers had acted unlawfully. The judicial review, which was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in December, was brought forward by a former rough sleeper with no recourse to public funds who was refused accommodation from Camden Council in March last year.


# International, Coronavirus COVID-19, Homelessness, Local Government.

Auction market off to early start as listings spike

Kate Burke
Domain (No paywall)

Australia’s auction market got off to a busier start than usual, with more sellers hitting the market over the traditionally quieter summer holiday period in a bid to get ahead of the competition before an increase in listings gives buyers more choice.


# Australia, Housing market.

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