RUN-DOWN, bogan and crime-infested – it seems to be a common perception of public housing.
Newstead real estate agent James Bird says the stigma is so strong, the mere mention of “Housing Tasmania” can lessen the value of nearby properties.
Mr Bird, of View Launceston Real Estate, said he was struggling to sell several blocks of land at Eastman’s Green after rumours spread of a public housing development in the area.
“A company has come in to build housing under the affordable housing scheme – and the company is not Housing Tasmania, it’s not public housing, but because everyone is saying it’s housing commission, people aren’t interested,” he said.
“We’re not going to drop prices, we’re going to hold firm and wait for people to see for themselves it’s not Housing Commission, because when they see that everything will be fine.”
Mr Bird confirmed a long-held assumption among buyers, saying an actual Housing Tasmania development would usually affect nearby property prices.
“It definitely does have an impact . . . I would say you’re probably looking at a minimum 10 per cent price impact on nearby properties,” he said.
“If you just take yourself and think about whether you would want to move next door to a public housing property, the answer would probably be no because there is that stigma.”
Launceston real estate agent Richard Sims said while it depended on the development, public housing could have a $20,000 to $30,000 impact on nearby property prices.
“It does have an unfair impact on prices . . . I think the media has a lot to do with it, in terms of influencing how we think about public housing,” he said.
University of Tasmania housing and communities unit director Keith Jacobs said while public housing may have an impact on nearby house prices, other factors – like the state of the economy – were more influential.
“So it’s difficult to know just how much of an impact it has, but there is some potential for housing buyers put off by social housing developments because they take the view that it will hurt house prices,” he said.
“It’s that whole `not in my backyard’ mentality where they like the idea of social housing, as long as it’s not in their neighbourhood.
“That makes it difficult for local councils to approve social housing developments because people protest against them.”
Mr Jacobs said the stigma surrounding public housing was short-sighted.
“Public housing is essential for vital societies and people judge it unfairly -when the real problem isn’t social housing, it’s the amount of money going into it,” he said.
James Bird, of View Launceston Real Estate, says the planned affordable housing scheme is affecting sales of land at Norwood’s Eastman’s Green subdivision. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER
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