‘50 YEARS OUT OF DATE’: Simple fix to our housing crisis
AUSTRALIA'S housing situation is hopelessly outdated - but an easy fix is right in front of our noses, an expert has claimed.
Renowned futurist Phil Ruthven has argued that most of our housing woes could be solved by adopting the leasing model, which is common in Europe and other parts of the world.
That model allows tenants to take out long-term leases of five to 10 years or more, and gives them far greater rights and control over how they fit out, decorate and use the home.
Mr Ruthven says Australia will need to embrace that model in the near future, as fewer people own their own home out of choice or necessity.
"For years I've been advocating that it's better to lease than to own a home - but I don't mean renting, which is unstable, short-term and limiting," he said.
"Less than half of people in Germany own their own home … because with leases you can paint the bloody house purple if you want; the owner might say to return it to the original condition at the end, but it's a two-way deal with more flexibility."
Mr Ruthven said while the lot of renters was slowly improving - pointing to recent changes to Victoria's Residential Tenancies Act, which gives renters the right to have pets - a complete overhaul was needed to give people who don't own their own home greater "freedom and flexibility".
"Renting is very degrading, in a sense, compared to leasing," he said.
"We have to change our rental rules - they are backwards in Australia currently; it's antediluvian.
"We're 50 years out of date compared with advanced countries, and that has to change."
Mr Ruthven is one of Australia's most celebrated thinkers, and is the founder and executive chairman of IBISWorld, a company which analyses industries and economies.
He has just published a new book, The Future For Our Kids, which predicts what the future has in store for Aussies regarding housing, employment, standards of living and more.
He told news.com.au "the best is yet to come" for Aussies, with our lives set to change rapidly and for the better in the coming decades.
He predicted an average working week of around 20 hours by the end of the century, with a greater focus on fulfilment.
"Work is becoming more enjoyable and a lot more cerebral than it has been in the past," he said.
"And we'll never run out of new jobs to replace the ones that are gone. In the last five years up to March 2018, we created nine times more jobs than we lost.
"We often hear about jobs lost - such as in the car industry - but there's not as much coverage of the fact that more are created."
Mr Ruthven said life expectancy would increase, with one in four millennials and most members of Generation Z living to 100.
He said longer lifespans would mean longer careers, with older people working well into their 80s in future - although he said that would probably be by choice as well as necessity, and that most older workers would be employed on a part-time basis.
"There's an urban myth that we'll run out of workers through ageing, but that's not going to happen," he said.
Mr Ruthven said the service, health and hospitality industries would be two of the biggest employers in future.
He also predicted an unprecedented tourist boom, with Australia having the opportunity to cash in on the growing Chinese tourist dollar.
The author also said the future would bring about the death of the term "employee", as people will soon be more likely to work on a long-term contractual basis rather than being employed full-time by one company, a model which could lead to great freedom and flexibility.
According to Mr Ruthven, car ownership is set to dry up as driverless vehicles for hire take over.
And housework and everyday chores will also disappear from most people's lives, and will be outsourced to others instead.
"A few things people find therapeutic will remain as hobbies but so many chores that are active and mindless today will be gone in a few years," he said.