Unused bedrooms could be key to housing affordability

Adam Smith 23 January 2018

empty house1A new study has revealed Sydney properties have 600,000 unused bedrooms.

New analysis has claimed Sydney's under-utilised housing stock could more than meet the demand for new dwellings, the Australian Financial Review has reported. An analysis of Census data by EY found the 600,000 unused bedrooms in Sydney equate to 190,000 unused dwellings, which could meet the demand for new dwellings for the next five years.

"Does Sydney have a housing affordability issue, or a housing accessibility issue? The question is whether we are short of housing stock in Sydney, or whether we're not utilising the existing stock available to us very well," EY managing partner Andrew Price said.

Pay off your mortgage faster with your spare bedroom

For the purposes of analysis, EY defined under-utilised properties as those which had two or more vacant bedrooms on census night. According to the AFR, there are actually an estimated 1.5 million unused bedrooms spread across 900,000 dwellings in Sydney. However, the EY analysis assumed that a single vacant bedroom could be used for other purposes.

Price said better utilisation of existing housing stock could help address both affordability and productivity.

"If all unused bedrooms within 30 minutes of Sydney's CBD were to house a working adult, we estimate the boost to productivity would equate to an additional $750 million injected each year into the NSW economy," Price said.

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