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Involving the Private Sector in Affordable Housing Provision: Can Australia Learn from the United Kingdom?

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The focus of this article is to clarify the preconditions for the successful leverage of private investment to help both maintain and expand the affordable housing stock in Australia. To do this we examine a range of initiatives that have enabled such leverage in the UK and explore the lessons that can be drawn for Australia from this experience. The article provides an overview of UK experience since the 1980s and, from this, identifies the key factors that have both contributed to and constrained the expansion of affordable housing in the UK. It signals the key barriers and emerging challenges for the continued operation of this system of affordable housing provision in the UK and draws out the lessons, both positive and negative, that might help determine what is needed in Australia in order to fulfil the stated objective of the current Commonwealth State Housing Agreement—namely, to attract significant private investment into the provision of affordable housing. The concluding section addressing what might be done to increase the potential for leverage in the Australian situation, in the context of this policy goal.
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Keywords: Affordable housing; housing policy; housing subsidies; private investment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Social Science and Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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