A shortfall of housing for international students and migrants prepared to work in regional areas could exacerbate the nation’s labour shortage, weighing on the economy as it faces headwinds out of China and the lagged impact of high interest rates.
Research to be released on Monday shows non-traditional housing, aimed at students, working migrants and even in the aged care sector has helped reduce pressure on the struggling national housing market.
Asking rents are climbing by well above 10 per cent in some capital city markets while CoreLogic data this week is expected to show property values rising by up to 4 per cent over the past quarter. Some critics have blamed the rise in rents and prices on the increase in population growth, with almost 500,000 people being added to the population in 2022.
KPMG urban economist Terry Rawnsley said this extra half a million residents had not been solely funnelled into the private housing market, with 20 per cent moving into the so-called “non-private dwelling” sector.
He said this sector, which includes student accommodation and pre-existing workers’ dwellings in regional areas, had been pivotal in housing many of the migrants who have flooded into the country over the past 12 months.
“While we have seen strong net international migration, the notion that it is all being accommodated in the private housing market is a bit of a misconception,” he said.
Rawnsley said about 20 per cent of new arrivals had moved into existing non-private dwellings. Empty student accommodation was being filled while working holidaymakers were returning to employer-provided housing.
The number of people living in traditional housing, had climbed by 393,000 over the past year but was just 5 per cent above its pre-COVID level. The number of those in non-private dwellings, at about 864,000, was back to where it stood in 2018-19.