Publication: Making Better Economic Cases for Housing Policies


A new report examines the relationship between pressured housing markets in Sydney and economic growth. The report was co-written by Policy Scotland’s Duncan Maclennan who holds appointments at the University of Glasgow and at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), together with Laura Crommelin, Ryan van den Nouwelant and Bill Randolph at the City Futures Research Centre, UNSW.

This report responds to the housing affordability challenge in Sydney and its consequences for the growth and productivity of the metropolitan area. Traditionally, affordable housing policy advocates have relied on a traditional ‘merit good’ case for housing investment, while housing policy has increasingly narrowed in focus to homelessness and acute needs. This has left governments without a clear system-wide understanding of housing processes, and underdeveloped capacities to deal with dysfunctional housing market outcomes.

The authors argue that a new housing ‘story’ is needed, one that considers which housing arrangements will best sustain metropolitan economic development for the long term. This new story would recognise that supporting housing policies is about more than social justice. Housing outcomes, including costs, location, dwelling type and tenure, have many effects on the economy, which are not adequately acknowledged in current policy debates.

This report was commissioned by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations with assistance from the Greater Sydney Commission.

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Download the report here: Making Better Economic Cases for Housing Policies (PDF)