Australia’s quandary of record immigration and skint construction

By Our Reporter
Representational Photo by Metin Ozer on Unsplash

Australia is faced with a growing dilemma as it grapples with the intricacies of a rising immigration influx and a seemingly incompatible housing construction rate. A recent report by Domain estimates that nearly half a million extra dwellings, precisely 497,984, will be required to house the projected 1,235,000 net overseas migrants expected to land on Australian shores over the next four years.

This daunting figure translates to the necessity of constructing 341 new homes daily for the ensuing four years—a challenge of gargantuan proportions by any standard. These numbers underscore the escalating pressure on Australia’s housing sector, amplified by policy shifts by the Labour Government, which is touting a considerably liberalised immigration programme.

The policy modifications, which include guaranteeing permanent residency to temporary skilled workers, streamlining visa processing times across all classes, and lifting immigration caps to unprecedented levels, have undoubtedly facilitated more robust inflows of immigrants. Yet, these measures have simultaneously sparked grave concerns about the country’s ability to accommodate this population surge.

“Population growth from overseas migration exerts more immediate and significant pressure on housing demand than natural increase,” cites Migration Watch Australia, reflecting on the Domain report. Newly arrived immigrants often need to rent or buy homes upon arrival, leading to a sudden spike in demand, compared to the more gradual pressure exerted by natural population growth.

Forecasts suggest that with net overseas migration set to hit a record high over the current financial year and next, nearly 300,000 additional dwellings will be urgently needed. However, this need arises in a climate where construction rates are stumbling amidst a worrying trend of widespread builder failures and soaring costs of materials and financing.

Migration Watch Australia warns that the chances of adequately addressing the rapidly expanding housing demand are slim. “Essentially, Australia will never be able to build enough houses to keep up with the insane demand driven by record-level immigration,” they warned.

Given these circumstances, the organization urges the Albanese Government to consider reducing immigration levels as the only viable means to curb the impending housing crisis. The debate continues, presenting a complex conundrum for Australia’s policy makers, as they attempt to strike a balance between economic growth, immigration, and housing provision.

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