Northern Tasmania is holding on with bated breath as the housing crush that has engulfed the south strengthens its grip.
Housing pressure is a new word in the vocabulary of all Tasmanians, and it’s one we didn’t think we’d ever need to say.
Housing Minister Roger Jaensch announced on Friday that a series of round table discussion would be held across the state to bring industry and other stakeholders together to brainstorm a solution to the housing issue.
The round table started in Launceston on Friday and involved about 100 stakeholders from across the community sector, local government and the building and construction industry.
With our idyllic island lifestyle, Tasmanians have never really had to worry about increasing house prices or the struggle to find rental properties; issues that have plagued other states and other cities long before here.
However, the ugly reality is that there are people who are doing it tough, and those who life in Tasmania who can’t find rental properties or who have been priced out of the market.
Housing has been in the headlines in past weeks, with the Legislative Council also hosting an inquiry into the effect Airbnb and the sharing economy on housing availability and affordability.
A unexpected effect of the sharing economy is the increase in take up of entire properties listed on Airbnb.
The inquiry heard that entire properties listed on Airbnb had increased by more than 200 per cent statewide.
With access to peak holiday rates, it is easy to see why the take up of the sharing website has been so wide.
Competition in any market is healthy, so full regulation of Airbnb won’t help anyone. But neither will not tackling the issue head on, to ensure that access to the short-stay market isn’t disadvantaging those people who need long-term accommodation.
Let’s hope the round table discussions result in some tangible outcomes before the housing pressure becomes too much to bear for many Tasmanians.