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Media Release: Speculative Vacancies Defy Housing Affordability Pressures – Again

82,724 properties lie vacant and unoccupied across Greater Melbourne, according to Prosper Australia’s 2015 Speculative Vacancies Report released today.

Key findings:
•    4.8% of Melbourne’s total housing stock vacant in 2014
•    Up to 18.9% of investor owned property found vacant
•    Speculative Vacancy rate has increased 28% since 2013

The annual Speculative Vacancy Report produced by Prosper Australia investigates real dwelling vacancy rates as opposed to advertised vacancy rates, and shows that housing is one of our least efficiently used resources. Abnormally low water consumption is analysed over 12 months as a proxy for vacancy, determining speculative vacancies.

“The incentives for property speculators to hold prime locations empty is an affront to anyone locked out of housing. The findings prove we do not have a housing supply crisis, we are literally locked out” said Karl Fitzgerald, Prosper Australia’s Project Director.

“With capital gains accelerating in 2014, the Speculative Vacancy rate rose 28% for properties using less than 50 litres of water per day. According to our most conservative measure, those using zero litres of water increased by a concerning 70%.”

“This is clear evidence land is being hoarded for profit. Up to 18.9% of all investment properties lie empty. This report demonstrates over eight years that hoarding is magnified in periods of increased speculation.”

“Policy makers have genuinely transformed our housing supply. We have more than enough housing. The challenge is to address the disconnect between supply and occupancy. When there are three times as many empty houses as there are homeless people, we know the policy focus is just wrong. Government must do more than create millionaires via land re-zoning windfalls. It is time the public interest received a return from such lucrative public policy.”

“Our Prime Minister wants us to be risk takers in innovation. However, the nation is obsessed with the most damaging form of risk taking – property speculation. Current economic settings demand entrepreneurs stifle innovation with the high costs of land. Land speculation does nothing productive for the economy, instead it encourages wealth creation at the expense of other Australians.”

“This report only covers the Greater Melbourne region and is the only report of its kind in Australia. This key economic data simply must be collected by Government and we call on PM Malcolm Turnbull to fund the ABS to officially measure speculative vacancies.”


Download the report