Media Release
Chronic housing crisis costing Sydney over $10B every year
06 September, 2023

Media contact

Matt Levinson

New research released today shows Sydney’s now chronic housing crisis is costing the economy more than $10 billion per year.

Benchmarked internationally, Sydney meets the key metrics for chronic unaffordability:

  • Median property price over eight times the median household income for more than five consecutive years: Sydney’s median property price is over 13.3 times the price of median income, up from 8.3 a decade ago
  • More than 33% of renter households in housing stress (paying over 30% of monthly income on housing costs): 35.3% of Sydney renter households experience rental stress
  • In the world’s 20 most unaffordable cities for housing across available measures: Sydney is ranked second least affordable major housing market after Hong Kong.

Eamon Waterford, CEO of the Committee for Sydney, said chronic housing unaffordability was a threat to the future potential of Sydney.

“The housing crisis is deeply impacting every single one of us, but we’ve got to be clear that what we’re experiencing isn’t just a short-term housing crisis, it’s now chronic and it’s costing Sydney’s talent, innovation and productivity more than $10bn per year.

“The costs are being felt most by young Sydneysiders just starting to establish their careers, putting a handbrake on the opportunities that would have been open to them if housing in Sydney was more accessible and affordable.

“If we don’t take urgent and sustained action, chronic housing unaffordability will continue to erode Sydney’s competitiveness on the global stage and our city’s long-term economic success.

“We can’t solve this overnight, but we can commit to the bold, brave and long-term program required to send Sydney’s chronic housing crisis into remission and stop future relapses.”

Building on significant past work, the Committee for Sydney recommends three key actions:

  • Bring Sydney in line with other global cities by introducing an inclusionary zoning target (to provide affordable housing in new developments) on all rezonings, with appropriate transitional provisions
  • Invest in much more social and affordable housing
  • Significantly increase housing supply and do it well – with good transport connectivity, affordable housing, open space, schools, child care, shops and services.

While there has been extensive research into the social costs of unaffordable housing, this global benchmarking study from the Committee for Sydney with Business of Cities considers the implications of chronic unaffordability for Sydney’s long term economic success.