Affordable Housing Policy

I just listened to a podcast recording of a very interesting interview; Kathryn Ryan from Nine to Noon speaking with David Preston, a consulting economist about public policy and affordable housing.

David is also the author of one of the chapters in the new book Homes People Can Afford. Check out my interview (Home Style Green Episode 45) with Sarah Bierre from last week for more about this book.

I’d never have thought I’d agree so much with an economist.

Affordable Housing Summary

Here’s my summary of the interview:

  • The current housing crisis is not one problem, it’s a whole lot of small problems.
  • The small problems, including lack of supply, attractive investment opportunities pushing out ownership opportunities, poor quality, fragmented building industry etc; have developed over at least 20 years. It’s going to take a while to fix them all.
  • There’s not likely to be a silver bullet public policy to fix all the problems.
  • Policies need to be applied in balance, because different policies will affect price and supply in different ways.
  • Affordability is more than just upfront cost.
  • Those who just manage to get into the market while interest rates are low, are at risk when rates start to rise again.
  • There’s hope in modular housing solutions.
  • There’s hope in prefab
  • There’s hope in building smaller houses (the current average is 190 m2)
  • Housing affordability is going to be an election issue, so everyone’s going to hear a lot more about it.

I recommend checking out Kathryn Ryan’s interview. It’s only 17 mins long.