Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s comments about housing affordability have been slammed as ‘out of touch’ by the Labor Party, but what do investors think?
Mr Joyce last week defended Australian property prices, telling ABC’s RN Drive that “houses will always be incredibly expensive” if people want views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
“I did move out west so I can say this, if you’ve got the gumption in you and you decide to move to Charleville [Queensland], you’re going to have a very affordable house, but if you say, ‘Well, I want a really affordable house in Mosman [Sydney]’, yeah, well, don’t we all?” he said.
His comments drew the ire of investors and the opposition. NSW Labor leader Luke Foley said Mr Joyce’s comments showed how ‘out of touch’ he was with average Australians.
“Relocating to regional areas is something that occurs all the time. It can be a very good thing for people,” Mr Foley told the ABC.
“But the notion that Sydney can just empty itself, leaving those people with harbour views to remain only, is just living in a fantasy world, quite frankly. It’s way too simplistic, he’s completely out of touch with the lives of millions of Sydneysiders.”
Investors were also quick to condemn Mr Joyce’s comments. Sydneysider Taku Ekanayake – who is aged 28 and has a six-property portfolio – said the prices of property, even those without harbour views, were out of reach for many Millennials living in Sydney.
“It’s not just around the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as Joyce alluded to... Property prices are getting incredibly expensive and seemingly out of reach for the average Millennial,” Mr Ekanayake said.
“Median house prices in the fringes of Sydney have reached absurd prices and they definitely don’t have any harbour views whatsoever. Median house prices for Liverpool is $733,000, Rouse Hill is $955,000 and Blacktown is $670,000, according to realestate.com.au figures.”
Instead of turning to impossible options such as moving away from where jobs are located, Mr Ekanayake said the government should support feasible solutions such as rentvesting.
Mr Ekanayake lives in the inner west suburb of Marrickville, where the median house price of $1.3 million is beyond his reach, so he rents his current PPOR.
“Regardless of where you buy, there will be sacrifices we will have to make. I had to give up the smashed avo, give up a lot of my social life, give up holidays and pick up a second income stream on top of my full-time job to help fund my property purchases,” he said, referring to his weekend job as an Uber driver.
Mr Ekanayake isn’t sitting around waiting for the government to solve the affordability issue. He said the only way to overcome the current economic issues investors are facing is to be realistic and take action.
“I understand that we’re all keen to buy our dream home. However, the first home you buy probably won’t be our idea of the dream home anyway,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we can continue to complain about ludicrous house prices in Sydney, which are ludicrous, but probably won’t become more affordable anytime soon, and we can continue to resent our politicians for making insulting comments attacking Millennials. However, it’s ultimately up to us as individuals to look for a solution because no politician will really help the cause whatsoever.”