Affordable Housing

Reporter: David Richardson

Owning your own home has long been the great Aussie dream but our national housing crisis for many it's become a nightmare. Well now it can be an affordable reality. A new building revolution has designer homes being made to order, delivered in a fraction of the time, for just half the price.

It's a nationwide crisis so serious nearly one million people are at risk, housing affordability is at an all time low...Home owners on an average wage are now being forced to part with more than a third of their incomes just to pay the mortgage. Rising interest rates, high property prices, too few new homes, urban sprawl. A cocktail of problems...John Shore from ray white real estate believes buyers have to change their idea of the family home.

"Where we had the quarter acre block there now 2, 3 4 units are being put on those blocks, small houses and that's becoming a solution. "Property developer Greg rips specialises in low cost housing but it's not the dream home on the quarter acre block."Especially at the bottom end of the market the most affordable end there's just not enough for people to buy.

"So we have a stock problem and a cost problem?" David Richardson asked. "Absolutely." Greg replied."There are 31 townhouses in this estate the most expensive under 300-thousand, land and house."But there aren't enough...We're right on the edge of the urban sprawl. The CBD is a good 45 minutes to an hour that way. State Governments everywhere are trying to slow down developments in areas like this because they won't spend money providing good infrastructure like public transport and roads. But without areas like this it's impossible for this country to provide affordable housing for everyone."

"if the public transport is there and follows the spread and the infrastructure is there as well you can go as far as people are willing to travel and still get on public transport and come back. If that's not available then you have a problem." Greg said. "A lot of countries around the world the US, the UK, Ireland, Spain built too much housing during their bubble, we didn't, we haven't built enough housing."Financial advisor Michael Pascoe it can only get worse if governments don't act. "The Reserve Bank has taken an extraordinary step and it's very bluntly warned government federal, state and local that they have to introduce policies to improve the amount of housing being built to get more housing built otherwise we'll have the bubble and the reserve bank will have to move and that means they'll belt us all over the head with that very blunt stick, high interest rates." Michael says.

Cramming more people into apartment blocks closer to the city centres is the traditional government response. It does nothing to lower the cost of real estate..."A unit in the inner city in a high-rise with two bedrooms will set you back close to 500-thousand dollars. said Greg.This feels like a small studio apartment but it's not a builder's bricks and mortar, it's made in a factory and delivered to your door. A pre-fabricated home built to order to ease a housing shortage."I think it is one answer. I think it's probably a composite solution ultimately. It is definitely an easy angle for the delivery of mass housing." Jan Gyrn said.

Jan runs Modscape, an Australian company building affordable homes in a factory.The basic model costs $135 000 and can be installed in two days, it's widely used in Europe and Scandinavia. It enables home buyers to start small and adding on as the family grows and their incomes increase but there's no answer in sight.

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