PHOTO: Australian property

In NSW, more than 37,175 people are homeless while more than 68,000 properties sit vacant. That equates to two empty properties for every person experiencing homelessness in this state. Indeed, many would say that it’s unjustifiable for a society to allow some of its members to go without shelter, while others own vacant dwellings.

The estimated number of vacant properties in NSW was calculated by taking the overall amount that were indicated as empty in last year’s Census and converting that number with an analysis of water usage data by Prosper Australia, which removes temporarily vacant properties from the equation.


Real Estate Agents

How are real estate agents coping with the crisis?


Wealth accumulation driving homelessness

As former Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon pointed out in 2017, the number that is left is an estimate of long-term speculative vacancies. “These aren’t properties in between buyers,” she told Sydney Criminal Lawyers. “They’re being deliberately left vacant to speculate on rising prices.”

While there’s a gaping lack of affordable housing in Australia, along with talk of a housing shortage, there’s plenty of property speculation going on. Prosper Australia findings indicate that nationwide there are about 300,000 speculative vacancies, which accounts for 3% of all housing.

According to Ms Rhiannon, it comes down to “a relatively small number of people with huge wealth,” who “need a place to park it.” She questioned why someone would “bother with tenants and real estate agents” when they can simply make money by letting their property “sit there.”