Book Sale

Tuesday 6 June 2023

The Housing Crisis Is Being Manufactured


Australian’s are being sold a lie, and they are either among those who see this, or among those who are emotionally unwilling to recognize it, or they are among those who are benefitting from it and hope that others will not recognize it. And that lie is the idea that we are just not building enough homes. You will hear often in news media, in articles and online and in personal conversations that the solution to solving the housing crisis is very easy, just build more homes. I have heard this said so many times over the years, that I have lost count. And that’s just in the last month. I don’t even watch the news, but I see the titles of news articles online, and it is a common theme.

Anecdotally, I know this is a nonsense statement because the area I live in is becoming quickly overpopulated and over-saturated by the amount of housing developments going up, and they keep increasing, not decreasing. The amount of homes being built is incredible. So too is the incredibly disturbing density of the housing estates these homes are being built into, it is really quite remarkable that people are willing to both pay for and live in such shoe box style living. But then in other countries people live in apartment complexes in large numbers, don’t they? I know from people in the building community that this building is happening all over the country. Australia is building homes at an incredible rate. But these are just anecdotes, you want hard data, don’t you?

Well Leith Van Onselen from Macrobusiness has the numbers.

Australia is a world leader in home construction

The OECD’s Affordable Housing Database shows that Australia has built significantly more dwellings per capita than most other OECD countries:

 In 2020, Australia ranked fourth in the OECD for home building.

Australia’s residential construction rate also remained constant from 2011.

The primary issue is not Australia’s inability to build houses, but rather the fact that Australia has one of the world’s largest immigration programs, ensuring that housing demand always exceeds supply.

In the 20 years leading up to 2001, Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM) averaged 95,000 persons per year, while population growth averaged 217,000.

Australia’s NOM averaged 182,000 in the 20 years to 2021, and population growth averaged 320,000 people a year. And this time span encompasses the pandemic’s negative NOM.”[i]

Australia is one of the world leaders in house building. Behind only Korea, Iceland and Türkiye.[ii] The idea that we just need to build more homes is a misnomer, and actually a bit cruel, considering the fact that high interest rates has caused many indebted builders to go under at a very high rate, something that Onselen also notes. Australia’s problem is not that its building industry is not capable of producing high numbers of homes, it is that no matter how many they build, the government just keeps increasing immigration, to now never seen before figures, “According to the Budget, NOM will hit a record high 400,000 in 2022-23, before decreasing to 315,000 in 2023-24.”[iii]

Australia’s housing market is being set up to fail, for young homebuyers. It is an asset owners market, and many of those in power who make the decisions are asset owners. One of the most consistent ways to make money in the last four decades in Australia, has been from an increasingly booming housing market. This is true to some degree in other countries, but even more so in Australia, with its low population, and lower selection of markets for the wealthy to invest their money in. Land ownership and specifically investment home ownership has been a primary means for the wealthy to get richer, and everyone else to get poorer. This is a problem for the economy, because this land is not increasing in value from production, but simply from a supply side issue that has been manufactured by immigration. It is an artificial growth curve, based on the assumption that Australians will just tolerate paying more and more for homes, indefinitely, which so far has turned out to be true. It is an immigration Ponzi scheme, and every Australian and every new immigrant is forced to pay more and more for a home to live in. When will this cycle stop? 

But only racists oppose immigration, right? You have probably heard this statement at some point. It's a facile fallback accusation of the person who has no argument, but has a "sense" about what they feel should be the right position. It would be a funny, if it was not such a tragic and evil position.

I was out evangelizing with some people from my church on Sunday, and we took food, and blankets and other things to donate to homeless people, and one of the families we encountered living on the streets was an immigrant family. They can't get a rental. They can't get a home for their kids.

So, tell me how exactly it is kind or moral, to drive immigration to the highest levels this country has ever seen, when both Australians and resident foreigners are living in their cars, tents, vans and under bridges from this manufactured crisis? I was shocked at the amount of people I observed. I have never seen such conditions in this country before. And I grew up in a relatively poor neighbourhood. But even the poorest people I knew had a home. It might not have been a flash one, but it was a home.

It is evil for a government that is not correctly serving its own people, to bring in more people, to compete with its own people who are starting to drown under the pressures of the cost of living. Especially when it is very easy for them to solve it. Only one policy needs to change. All that needs to happen is that the tap of immigration is turned down, to allow for infrastructure and housing pressures to ease. Remove the high demand on homes and prices will fall. Maybe not straight away, but eventually.  

But this will not happen, because the housing crisis is being manufactured. There are over 1 million empty homes in Australia and as you saw, Australia builds homes at a rate higher than any developed country, bar three. The fact that we are just not building enough is a lie, it is a cruel lie. Immigration is being used to keep constant upward pressure on house prices, and downward pressure on wages.

“Australia’s housing shortage is a direct outcome of two decades of excessive immigration, which is officially projected to reach record highs in coming years.”[iv]

No matter how much we build, the government just increases how many people come in. The housing crisis is being manufactured, to turn our homes into a bumper market for wealthy landowners, big developers, and politicians with investments. Your ability to buy a home is being taken from you quite deliberately, so the rich can get richer, and you are "racist" if you call them out.

I wonder how much of this Australians will take before they march in the streets? They are already starting to build homes from tents and campervans in the parks of many communities. How long until people have had enough? Those in charge can change this very easily, the mechanism is within their reach; just drastically lower the pressure on rentals and house prices by allowing less people to come into the country. Of course, as Van Onselen notes, if the government really cared about the issue of homelessness and the housing crisis they would do something about the large numbers of immigration. The fact that they are doing the opposite, kind of indicates how little they really care about the average Aussie. 


[i] Leith Van Onselen, Australia Confronts Permanent Housing Shortage, 2023, 

[ii] The articles spelling, not mine.

[iii] Leith Van Onselen, Australia Confronts Permanent Housing Shortage, 2023,

[iv] Leith Van Onselen, Australia Confronts Permanent Housing Shortage, 2023,

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