This headline in Bloomberg (worldwide) News caught my eye last week …
“Vanishing Households Undercut Claim of Australian Home Shortage”
The article went on to report some quite extraordinary findings that have emerged from the results of Australia’s 2011 census and elsewhere. Here’s a taste …
“Australia has almost 1 million fewer households than assumed in government forecasts of a housing shortage, raising doubts about a supply shortfall cited as the main reason the nation will avoid a US-style crash.”
Australia … “had 7.8 million households, data released yesterday from the 2011 Census showed. That compared with estimates of 8.7 million as of June 2010, according to the latest figures used by the National Housing Supply Council, a group created by the government in May 2008 to monitor housing demand, supply and affordability.”
“Australia’s population also grew by 300,000 less than previously estimated, to 21.5 million.”
At this point, you just have to wonder about the statisticians. Surely the population is just a known number + births – deaths + arrivals – departures. Can’t they even count these?
Anyway, Bloomberg goes on:
“The Council’s figures are based on the last census, conducted in 2006, with adjustments for additions and reductions of homes, said Owen Donald, chairman of the National Housing Supply Council. “On the face of it, 900,000 is a gigantic difference,” he said. “We need to get to the bottom of what’s in the statistics bureau numbers.”
Indeed, they do … because this is the data that is so often used to “prove” a housing shortage and convince folk to bid house prices up!
And what about this?
“… the number of vacant dwellings also rose to 934,471 in the 2011 Census from 830,376 in 2006.” That’s enough houses to accommodate nearly 2.5 million people at the average (census) household size of 2.6
Just as the Southern Highlands evidence suggests, in aggregate, the general housing shortage is a mirage! What is short, is houses folk can afford!
Cheers… Geoff O’Reilly