House Prices Under Labor
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House Prices Under Labor

Predicted market falls are coming – though some experts claim things have been over-egged.

By Terry Christodoulou
Fri, May 27, 2022 4:44pmGrey Clock 2 min

Economists are predicting the national property market will continue to soften despite Labor Government initiatives aimed at stimulation and a targeted ease of entry.

Labor’s recently announced ‘Help to Buy’ scheme – a new program targeting first home buyers, single parents and low-income earners in a bid to get them into the market sooner – was a key announcement from the incoming Albanese government and aligned to a confirmed continuation of the Coalition’s ‘Home Guarantee Scheme.’

“With affordability worsening due to the first interest rate rise in 11 years, the government incentives and offsets will aid housing in the short term,” says Dr Wilson, chief economist at My Housing Market.

“Of course, interest rates will play a large role in how the market behaves, and while they are certainly on the way up, how far up they go is still up in the air.”

Others point to future pain – with predictions of substantial drops in property prices.

AMP claims Australians should expect a 10% – 15% drop in house prices across the next 18 months.

By comparison, Westpac remains firm with an earlier forecast of a national price fall of 2% by the end of 2022 and a further 8% in 2023. The CBA, meanwhile, predicts national prices to flatline by the end of the year, also with an 8% drop in 2023.

Dr Wilson remains sceptical of such dramatic reductions.

“The historical data doesn’t suggest that rising interest rates impact the market at that level,” he says. “There’s no doubt that over the past six months there’s been flat, or negative price growth. But the housing market is still undersupplied and with building costs rising and a lack of building in the pipeline, along with migration set to return at full capacity soon, there will still be more people than houses.

“One only has to look at the rental market, especially in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne to see that there is still a high demand for housing.”

Not discounting the effect of interest rates on the economy, Dr Wilson explains states the key to the national housing market lies with long-term inflation and wage-growth.

“For the new government, and the RBA, the problem lies in wages, and making sure that it keeps pace with inflation. With inflation going up, housing becomes less affordable, and that will have a greater impact on prices than interest rates.

“But at the end of the day, prices will stay fairly flat, if not a little bit under the line, and will be for some time.”


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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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