Monday, May 26, 2008

Sydney Awash With Vacant Apartment, Empty Homes

What housing shortage? Sydney has more than 120,000 dwellings, where people could make a home for themselves, currently sitting empty and unused. But if all that housing came on the market, outrageous inner city rental prices would drop.

The number of unoccupied residential dwellings in Sydney...122,211, with the highest number found in the inner city. That does not include the thousands of empty warehouses, pubs, churches and shops.

"It's an amazing figure, isn't it? It begs analysis," said Col James, the director of the Ian Buchan Fell Housing Research Centre, in the University of Sydney's architecture faculty. The number was up from 97,889 a decade ago.

"The numbers would be swelling now there are more mortgage defaulters," he said. "There are empty properties all over the place if you know how to look for them."

Meanwhile, the NSW state government bleats on about how it is riding to the rescue of savagely fleeced young Sydneysiders with a few thousand new rent-controlled apartments, to "ease the rental pain" or whatever twaddle they've come up with recently to whitewash the fact they have failed to provide affordable housing for low-paid, but utterly essential, workers.

Of course, these few thousand apartments to be provided by the NSW government won't be ready for years, as thousands of new families arrive in Sydney to set up home every month.

Maybe squatters have the right idea.