That’s the subtitle of a new documentary to be previewed at Melbourne’s ACMI on August 10th, Real Estate for Ran$om. Looking into the economics of property speculation, the film’s researchers uncovered a little secret. While the REIV’s housing vacancy rate for Melbourne stands at 1.7%, the “speculative” vacancy rate, which includes housing not for rent, is 4.94%. That’s 46,220 of the 935,305 properties for which they inspected water bills – a tell tale sign of whether a house is occupied.
The survey covers 64% of Melbourne’s housing stock, assessing data from two of the three water companies (South Eastern Water did not provide useful data). The suburb with the highest vacancy rate is Docklands, for which they found 23.32% of 995 dwelling using no water or less than 50 litres per day. Carlton South has an Estimated Genuine Vacancy rate of 11.51%. Some of the figures in the 261 suburb report may be on the low side considering land-banking, and the number of older blocks of flats with a shared water bill.
The Earthsharing website says in conclusion that, “the myth of the housing shortage is being perpetuated by equating a ‘lack of housing to let’ with a ‘lack of housing’. The response from government has been to make more land available for residential development without addressing the underlying inefficient use of housing in Melbourne.”