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Letter to the Editor
Jessica Irvine is right when she blames the high price of housing in Australia on the rising cost of land in our cities ("How NIMBY protests put homes out of reach" Sunday Mail 9/6/13). But she is wrong to attribute this relative scarcity of urban land to selfish surbanites unwilling to sell off their back-gardens to developers of multi-storey flats. The real culprit is the policies of State governments across Australia restricting the release of new suburban allotments due to their belief in urban consolidation. In the USA where State governments do not restrict the supply of land for new housing, houses are much cheaper than in Australia. It is not the people who already own houses stopping others have access to them Jessica, it is State government policies.
In any event it is short-sighted to blame one group of residents for the problems of another group. Can anyone be surprised if people living in attractive low-density garden suburbs feel upset when governments and councils try to rezone their areas to allow multi-storey flats? Rubbishing people because they are standing up for their quality of life and the character of their residential streets is not helpful.
There are plenty of relatively cheap houses in Adelaide for aspiring home-owners, as was pointed out by the outgoing director of the SA branch of the Property Council Nathan Paine at an Adelaide University seminar entitled "Older, Denser, Poorer?" held this week. Mr. Paine pointed out that you can still buy a house in Prospect for $500,000 whereas a city centre apartment will set you back about $350,000 or $450,000. He said that he did not consider that Adelaide could develop a thriving market in apartments because the cost differential between a house and an apartment were not so severe in Adelaide as in bigger cities like Melbourne and Sydney.