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Demand, deposits, debt: Housing affordability in Sydney

Demand, deposits, debt: Housing affordability in Sydney

Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion.
Briefing paper 1/2017 by Chris Angus

Sydney’s house prices have long been a concern for policymakers and the wider community. Debate continues over the causes of Sydney’s sustained house price growth, though most agree that some combination of demand fundamentals and supply constraints have led to the house prices we see today. There is no shortage of responses to this pressing issue, as can be seen in the solutions proposed by a range of stakeholders and the prolific media commentary over these past few months. Whether the latest tranche of policy proposals and ideas will ease the affordability challenges facing Sydney (and other parts of Australia) remains to be seen.

This paper presents the issue of housing affordability in Sydney in three parts:

  1. Trends in house prices in Sydney and other parts of Australia, as well as a summary of key housing affordability measures;

  2. An overview of supply and demand drivers that have influenced house prices in Sydney; and

  3. The social and economic impacts caused by high house prices, as well as recent policy proposals and responses aimed at addressing these consequences.

Accompanying this briefing paper is an interactive map displaying Housing NSW's median house price by Greater Sydney postcode for September 2016 (the most recent available data). Users can determine available suburb median prices for all dwellings, as well as strata and non-strata dwellings.

The map is available below, along with instructions for use and relevant information about the data being presented:

Median house prices by Greater Sydney postcode, Housing NSW, September 2016


  • Source: Housing NSW, Rent and Sales Report, Issue No 118, March 2017

  • Strata dwellings are defined by Housing NSW as including townhouses, terraces/villas, flats/units, and other multi-unit dwellings with Torrens titles

  • Non-strata dwellings are defined as separate houses

  • Some prices fluctuate significantly over time or show other anomalies. Accordingly, prices shown are indicative and should be treated with caution.

  • Suburbs without available price data are shown in grey and price listed as N/A

How to use the map                          

  • Zoom using +/- button to find specific electorate

  • Click "Visible layers" to see different indicators, only one is visible at a time

  • Hovering over the map shows suburb data, not electorate data

  • Suburbs are colour coded based on the data, with white boundaries

  • The NSW electorates are named, with black boundaries