Key workers such as teachers can no longer afford to buy houses in Sydney, a report commissioned by Teachers Mutual Bank, Firefighters Mutual Bank, Police Bank and My Credit Union has found.
The Key Worker Housing Affordability in Sydney, researched by the University of Sydney Urban Housing Lab, provides analysis of declining levels of housing affordability across greater and metropolitan Sydney for key workers including teachers, firefighters, nurses, police, ambulance drivers and paramedics.
The report found “if current patterns continue essential workers will remain stuck in the private rental system, unable to compete with investors and upgraders to purchase their own home”.
“The emphasis is on younger key workers who are yet to make their first home purchase and who face new affordability barriers which were not encountered by previous key worker cohorts for whom home ownership has largely been achieved,” the report said.
The report also highlights the economic and social implications of declining housing affordability for key workers in metropolitan Sydney, including the implications of the ensuing choices key workers must make. These choices include relocating to more affordable areas, facing long commutes to work, or “opting out” of home ownership in order to rent closer to employment.
Failure of regions to attract and retain key workers can generate large social and financial costs for society, the report said.
“In Sydney there is a growing spatial mismatch between where key workers live and work. Although key worker jobs are situated throughout the metropolitan region, and particularly in inner Sydney, the majority of the metropolitan region’s key workers reside in outer ring suburbs.
“Since 2006, some inner and middle ring subregions of metropolitan Sydney have experienced a net loss of key workers meaning that more key workers left the subregion than moved in, while outlying areas including the Illawarra, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley have experienced net gains.