How News Corp is going behind the ‘why’ of the housing crisis

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Gemma Jones: “Housing in some places is at its most unaffordable ever”

This week has seen News Corp Australia partner with REA Group to launch the Saving the Great Australian Dream editorial series. 

The series takes a deep dove into the challenges of the Australian housing crisis, looking at cost-of-living, lending policies, urban sprawl, student loan debts, and government policies. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, with readers also being given information and advice on making a start on the property ladder.

Mediaweek spoke with editor of The Advertiser, Gemma Jones, about the series before it wraps up on Saturday, September 9th. 

Gemma Jones

Gemma Jones

Although Jones is leading the charge on the series from Adelaide, she said that Saving the Great Australian Dream came about after noticing the pressures on housing for people “right across the country.”

“Housing affordability, particularly for people aged 40 and under, is among the top issues for readers. Speaking to governments, we know it’s also showing up in their own soundings of the community – housing affordability and the next generation coming through being able to get into the property market is an enormous issue. 

“We wanted to capture that in a week-long series. We’re not just telling people, we’re sharing people’s experiences and looking at what needs to be done, because there’s obviously a massive supply crisis that’s underpinning it.”

With so many aspects of the Australian housing crisis, Jones and the team made use of the PropTrack Housing Affordability Index – released exclusively to News Corp Australia – to guide them on where to focus their attention.

“Our series coincided with PropTrack releasing the affordability index, which shows the extent of the problem around the country. Housing in some places is at its most unaffordable ever, and in other places, most unaffordable for decades. That’s driven the conversation about what can governments at all three levels – federal, state and local – can do to alleviate the impediments to building more homes.

“We’ve spoken about streamlining of planning, getting the mix right in terms of density, and people still wanting backyards. It’s all stemmed from that.”

Saving the Great Australian Dream has been created in collaboration with REA Group, in a collaboration Jones said has been “excellent.”

“REA Group have economists on tap who can explain in really clear terms to our audience what is causing the supply issues, and what can be done in order to alleviate that. They do a fantastic job of relaying the scale of the problem, but also the solutions to our readers.”

When asked what it is that she wants readers to take away from the series, Jones said that she hopes that the work shows “that we understand the psyche of young Australians at the moment.”

“I hope that people will know that we understand the situation they’re in and the choices they’re making. But equally, I hope that governments sit up and take notice of the fact that the supply issues, the red tape, and the barriers to the building of homes are on them. This is an issue that’s been decades in the making, and there’s a window now for response.

“I’m not sure that that’s quite sunk in yet, but I hope that this year delivers a message loud and clear that supply needs to increase and every effort needs to be made to make housing development far easier than it is now.”

See Also: News Corp Australia and REA Group team up to launch property series

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