Speculative Vacancies 7



Read the report

Wednesday November 12th, 6.30pm
Presenter: Catherine Cashmore
2/22 Punch La, Melbourne

The 7th Speculative Vacancies report advocates for empty property held for capital gains to be included in Australia’s housing vacancy measures.

Read The Age’s write up

With the capital gains in the land game regularly tripling the yearly rental incomes available, there is less and less motivation for investors to risk their kitchen cupboards on a ‘reckless renter’.

Our innovative vacancy measure, using water consumption as a proxy for unoccupied housing, covers 94% of Melbourne’s housing. In this investor-dominated market, simply quantifying ‘housing for rent’ does not give a complete account of total vacancies. Our vacancy rate typically triples the vacancy findings the mainstream media quotes.

Catherine Cashmore, the winner of the EJ Craigie writing award, will inject her unique investigative manner into this year’s report.

The final vacancy numbers are again shaping up to reveal a jaw-dropping number of under-utilised properties in this era of the Housing Supply Crisis.

We believe land usage is the genuine cause to affordability pressures and this report is a giant finger pointing at what is regularly ignored. Invite your friends feeling the housing stress to join us for an explosive evening!

Read past reports on our Earthsharing site.

RSVP now


  1. Harry06-11-2014

    Please post the eve’s pics and if possible video clips. Thanks.

  2. Karl Fitzgerald
    Karl Fitzgerald11-11-2014

    Thanks Harry we’ll do our best. Edited highlights will appear on next week’s Renegade Economists radio show

  3. Nicole Lindsay12-11-2014

    I think your research is very interesting and valuable. However, I’m not sure the 50 litre water usage cutoff is low enough. I think you could find frugal old people easily using less than 50 litres a day. We use less than 50 litres a day per person at our house – and that includes two shower-abusing students!

  4. Karl Fitzgerald
    Karl Fitzgerald12-11-2014

    Thxs Nicole,

    Fair points raised but for which we have evidence to back. For every frugal household, I’ll offer 1,000s of blocks of empty land. Each vacant site comes up as one vacancy in our findings but would most likely be sub-divided into 3 – 4 homes. If there were that many frugal households it would show up in the numbers recorded by the utilities and we would adjust our threshold. In saying that, average single person household use has fallen from 176LpD to 157 LpD over the last year. Homes with water tanks have reduced their consumption LESS than those without. So we are watching. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. Nicole Lindsay12-11-2014

    Fair enough, thanks for the explanation. I’d love to come tonight but I’m booked up.

  6. Catherine Cashmore13-11-2014

    Hi Nicole,

    Good to hear from you!

    Usage per day goes down relative to the number of people in a household – so the more people in a household, the less usage per person. Hence why you currently use less than 50LpD each.

    The data is per household use – not individual use – and all available research shows that only a meagre 3% of households consume less than 50LpD.

    When you consider that a slowly dripping tap can consume 55LpD – one minute in the shower 12 litres and a flush of the toilet 6 litres – it’s easy to see why even single person households have an average usage upwards of 157LpD.

    However, your points are valid and very frugal water savers will bias the results to a small degree.

    The report should be used as a starting point for local and state government to do further assessment of the latent housing supply and put policies in place to encourage better utilisation of our land. In doing so, we can potentially bring a higher percentage of empty dwellings onto the market and assist in easing affordability constraints for low income buyers..


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