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18 February 2016


The social consequences of a property boom.

by Neil Jenman

The cartoon on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald (March 12) cruelly summed up the city’s housing crisis.

Under the heading Housing Affordability, were two images representing two different years. First, the Year 2000 and a drawing of a cute cottage (home sweet home). Second the Year 2004 – and a drawing of a mail box.

And that’s the way it is in the shallow city. The city obsessed with property has closed its material gates to all but the high income earners.

Well guess what, Sydney – as they say in the bush – “you’re gonna come a gutzer”.


Because you have broken the financial backs of battlers. Your lust for image and your quest for investment wealth has turned you from a pretty city into a misery city.

You are a city where the median cost of an established home is $700,000. To buy this home, a family needs an annual income of at around $150,000. They haven’t got it. And so they can’t buy.

Yes Sydney, you can boast of record highs for properties; but you have sunk to record lows for affordability. You have told young families, first homebuyers and battlers that they are not welcome. Your admission price has forced them to live in outer suburbs and spend hours each day commuting – just to pay their payments.

The stress level for mortgage payments is reached at thirty per cent of the average wage. In Sydney, the average mortgage now takes a back-breaking fifty per cent of the average pay packet. It is soul destroying.

Sydney, you have sold your soul to property. You have betrayed the people who lived in and loved your city. You have locked them out and broken their spirit. They have stopped buying your real estate, not because they don’t want it, but because you don’t want them.

Sydney, this is your property shame.

The average working person – which is most of the population – is the foundation of both a society and a market.

Take out the foundation and, well, you know what that means. It’s all going to come down on you.

Just wait and see, Sydney.

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