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Impacts of contrasting housing policies on low-income households in Australia and the Netherlands

Vivienne R. Milligan, Frans M. Dieleman and Ronald van Kempen
Journal of Housing and the Built Environment
Vol. 21, No. 3, Life and Work of Professor F.M. Dieleman (September 2006), pp. 237-255
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41107346
Page Count: 19
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Impacts of contrasting housing policies on low-income households in Australia and the Netherlands
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Abstract

This paper aims to contribute to the debate in comparative housing studies about the significance of national housing policies by considering what can be learnt from analysing the consequences of different policy paths. In particular, the paper looks at the evidence of the long-run impacts of different housing strategies adopted to assist lower-income households in Australia and the Netherlands, using housing affordability as a measure of their impact. Australia is an example of a country that has promoted mass home ownership across the income distribution supplemented by a very small public housing system. In contrast, the Netherlands has relied more on a large and diversified social housing sector. The comparative analysis shows that there are many similarities in the patterns of affordability among low-income households in the two countries despite the use of different policy means. In the past, both countries had good success providing secure and affordable housing for poorer households. Now, lower-income households are experiencing greater affordability problems that are linked to societal changes and the retrenchment of government housing assistance in both cases. However, the study also finds that affordability problems among lower-income households are worse in Australia because of the greater reliance on private housing in that country.

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