July 7th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Who remembers the victims of communism?

HUMAN RIGHTS: Canberra's silence about Chinese organ-harvesting

EDITORIAL: Trade talks: Australia still 'flogging a dead horse'

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Howard's action on Aborigines long overdue

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Saving Howard's bacon / What Arabs and Jews need most / Tony Blair's legacy

SPECIAL FEATURE: Keeping Australia a great nation

RELIGION: Call to reform and modernise Islam

CHINA: Will capitalism prop up or undermine communism?

INTERNET: Risks in personal Web pages

MEDICAL: Homosexual activists attack medical profession

CLIMATE CHANGE: Scientists now warn of global cooling

Why housing is too dear(letter)

Value of the 'food-bowl' rail route (letter)

Dams needed, not desalination plants (letter)

Kevin Rudd's insult to stay-at-home wives (letter)

CINEMA: The gentle art of making enemies - As It Is in Heaven

BOOKS: LEFT TO TELL: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, by Immaculée Ilibagiza

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Why housing is too dear(letter)

by Marc Florio

News Weekly, July 7, 2007

Let me reassure Emidio Restall (Letters, News Weekly, June 23, 2007) that my letter to News Weekly indicated that housing investors are a major contributing factor to housing unaffordabilty, not the only factor.

Whatever the case, Mr Restall's letter does not address the premise that land speculation and absentee ownership are a fundamental cause of increasing land prices and that families with low to moderate incomes cannot financially compete against investors.

Private investment in housing is currently high, but this has not resulted in affordable rental properties. On the contrary, as a result of inflated house prices, the demand for private rental properties, especially in Melbourne and Sydney, is extremely high. This has resulted in a shortage of rental properties and in rental hikes.

There is an increasing inequality between the "over-housed" and those lacking stable and affordable housing. Given the numerous benefits of home ownership for families, especially security of tenure, affordable housing initiatives for low-moderate income households should primarily favour home ownership over other forms of tenure.

Community housing options, such as community land trusts (see my "Making home ownership affordable again", News Weekly, September 2, 2006) are feasible alternatives to prevailing initiatives and policies.

Marc Florio,
Keilor East, Vic.

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