January message from Michael Tilt, CEO

Welcome back! 2017 is already in full swing and we wish all our clients an even more prosperous year than the one just passed.  We think we can help you achieve that.

Our big news is that we’ve managed to secure Dr Nigel Stapledon, one of Australia’s leading land and property economists, as our Chief Adviser.  Nigel was Chief Economist with Westpac for a decade, and most recently he’s been based at the UNSW Business School where he established the Real Estate teaching program.  He is author of a long-term series on house prices for Sydney and Melbourne.

Just as Nigel has been scrutinising the property market for many years, MacroPlan has been closely following his work.  We’ve been so impressed with his economic commentary and it’s a huge coup to have him on board.

Nigel joins us as the issue of housing affordability hits the national agenda.  According to the annual US Demographia International Housing Affordability survey, Sydney has the unenviable title of second least affordable city in the world to buy a home, beaten only by Hong Kong.

Sydney's median house price to wage ratio was 12 times, up from 7.6 in 2004.  Melbourne, with a median house price to wage ratio of 9.5, was number six on the list.  In fact, all of Australia's major housing markets, including Perth, were rated ‘severely unaffordable’.

Australia had only a handful of affordable places listed: Karratha, Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie in WA, and Gladstone in Queensland - all mining towns.

The survey results were announced a week ago; the same day that NSW - the most expensive Australian state to buy a home - had a new premier installed.  In her inaugural press conference, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, ‘I want to make sure that every average hardworking person in this state can aspire to own their own home.’

While she hasn’t spelled out how she will achieve that, the Premier says she prefers solutions based on increasing housing supply rather than tax reforms.

Our politicians are certainly getting the ‘affordability’ message.  In the recent reshuffle of his ministry, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appointed a new Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, whose key focus will be on housing affordability.

At MacroPlan, one of our first activities for the year is a series of workshops we are putting together on the draft Regional and Metropolitan Planning Strategies.  They’ll be held in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, with dates and venues announced soon.  MacroPlan is assisting clients to prepare well-researched, comprehensive submissions tailored to the specifics of their business.

2017 may be a month old, but the Chinese New Year has just begun!  This is the year of the rooster, or to be specific, the fire rooster, which comes around only every 60 years.  Famous fire roosters include Martin Luther King and comedians Dawn French and Stephen Fry.  The sign is said to stand for trustworthiness and responsibility at work - two qualities I hope we all enjoy in the year ahead.

Michael Tilt