Media Release
Housing affordability and cost of living bite, but Sydneysiders’ optimism holds steady
04 February, 2022

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Matt Levinson

Housing affordability and cost of living have emerged as the top issues facing Sydneysiders, in a new survey released today.

The Committee for Sydney’s annual Life in Sydney report is a survey of more than 1,000 people from across Greater Sydney, conducted in partnership with Ipsos between January 5 and 19.

Ehssan Veiszadeh, Deputy CEO of the Committee for Sydney, said the results show Sydney remains a great place to live and people are optimistic about the future.

“While the results have softened since last year, the signal is clear – three out of every four Sydneysiders are satisfied with their quality of life,” he said.

“On the whole there’s broad agreement we have access to quality jobs, great local parks and wonderful places to eat, just one in five Sydneysiders think things will get worse over the next 12 months.

“The thing that’s keeping Sydneysiders up at night is housing affordability – there’s no two ways about it. This is the number one issue facing people across Greater Sydney.

“Close behind is hip pocket pressures, with a massive 85% of Sydneysiders saying they are concerned about the cost of living.

“The results reveal real political challenges to surface in looming elections, with no simple answers given stagnant wages and rising inflation.”

Housing affordability – the biggest issue:

  • 56% support building of more homes and apartments to drive down the cost of housing, 20% oppose
  • 58% support increased density nearby and above train stations, if it means government can preserve green and open spaces in the suburbs
  • 42% would like to choose between upfront stamp duty and an annual land tax, 19% oppose.

Covid controls and the future: 

  • 56% support a move away from government lockdowns, 27% oppose
  • 71% support restrictions on unvaccinated people, 13% oppose
  • 69% people prefer to work from home – primarily because it saves time commuting, or they’re more productive at home
  • 61% say working from home is better for their mental health, a data point that has softened slightly on previous years.

Stuart Clark, Director at Ipsos Public Affairs, said the results represented a move towards the types of concerns Sydneysiders had before the pandemic.

“After a couple of years of heightened worry about healthcare and the economy, thanks to Covid-19, many are refocusing on tradition concerns about the high cost of living in Sydney.

“But Covid still looms large in Sydneysiders’ lives. Despite moving to more normalised settings many of us remain cautious about where we go and what we do.”  

Ehssan Veiszadeh, Deputy CEO of the Committee for Sydney, said there was evidence of some lingering caution among Sydneysiders about getting out and about.

“It’s understandable, but it does spell trouble for our CBDs, events sector and visitor economy, should it continue for much longer. We have to find a way to give people the confidence they need to get out, have fun and reconnect.

“Despite that caution, people are over lockdown and want government to take the necessary action to avoid further restrictions.”

Notes: The Life in Sydney results will be presented at the Committee for Sydney’s annual Sydney Summit at ICC Sydney on Monday 7 February 2022, alongside keynote speakers including NSW Treasurer, the Hon. Matt Kean MP, Minister for Cities, Active Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon. Rob Stokes MP, Peter Shergold AC, Maha Abdo OAM, Ian Hickie AM, Rae Cooper AO, Ann Sherry AO, Tim Soutphommasane, Veena Sahajwalla, Andrew Parfitt and others – more information in the Sydney Summit 2022 event program.

The Committee for Sydney is the peak advocacy and urban policy think tank for Greater Sydney. We are advocates for the whole of Sydney, developing pragmatic and innovative solutions to the most important problems we face. We are funded by a more than 150 of Sydney’s leading corporations, government departments and cultural institutions. Our goal is to make Sydney the best city in the world.