Housing All Australians
Groundbreaking cost benefit analysis and economic study reveal the long-term costs of underproviding public, social and affordable housing.
Give Me Shelter, authored by SGS for Housing All Australians, is an Australian first report that outlines the long-term economic costs if we do not house all Australians. The report fills a gap in research and urges Australian businesses to join in a national discussion about how to address the chronic shortage of affordable, public and social housing, which is set to cost the nation billions of dollars if left unchecked.
One of the key findings of the report is if no action is taken on the housing shortfall, the additional cost to Australia in foregone benefits and additional social outlays will reach $25 billion annually by 2051 (in 2021 dollars). The estimated benefits of providing adequate housing reach almost $110 billion.
Our analysis found that decades of underinvestment by governments in "non-market" housing has led to social housing numbers falling to record lows -- just four per cent of national housing stock, compared to six per cent in 1996. Over the same time period, the nation's population has risen 25 per cent, placing added stress on an already stretched housing market.
The economic modelling indicates the extra cost will result from higher health and mental health service costs, domestic violence services, compromised educational opportunities, anti-social behaviour, and significant productivity losses for services and businesses, with staff unable to find affordable accommodation nearby.
Importantly, the cost-benefit ratio of investing in more affordable housing was double the cost outlay — for every $1 invested the taxpayer would on average receive $2 in benefits — with the study noting this was a better cost-benefit return than many other major infrastructure projects, including the Brisbane and Melbourne metro projects.
The report is a clear demonstration of the underlying business case for greater investment in affordable, public and social housing, with businesses one of the biggest beneficiaries.