What is Sydney’s Housing Crisis and is this Language Unnecessarily Alarmist?

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In recent months, the term “Sydney’s Housing Crisis” has surged in media articles, capturing the attention of property buyers, investors, and policymakers alike. In a global city of 5.185 million people, what is this crisis that Sydney is facing? As buyers’ agents, we have observed growing concerns surrounding the availability and cost of housing and feel it is imperative to dissect what this crisis entails and whether the language used  is unnecessarily alarmist.

Understanding the Housing Crisis

The housing crisis in Sydney primarily refers to the significant challenges faced by individuals and families in securing housing that is affordable. This crisis is characterised by skyrocketing property prices, a shortage of available homes, and increasing rental costs. These factors collectively contribute to a market where many potential buyers and renters find themselves priced out of the market.

Crisis of Affordability

At the heart of Sydney’s housing crisis is the issue of affordability. Over the past decade, property prices in Sydney have risen dramatically, outpacing wage growth and making homeownership an elusive goal for many. According to recent data, the median house price in Sydney has increased by another 11.1% over the past 12 months to surpass $1.6 million, a figure that is daunting for first-time buyers and even seasoned investors. Even the median unit price is in excess of $800k.

The affordability crisis is not limited to purchasing homes; rental prices have also seen a steep increase. Recent research from SQM highlights that Sydney has the highest median rental price of all the capital cities with a weekly median rent price of $1,037 for houses and $694 per week for units. This represents an increase of 13.4% and 13.3% respectively over the past 12 months. This has led to a situation where even renting a property, particularly in Sydney’s inner suburbs has become a financial strain for many households. The high demand for rental properties, coupled with a limited supply, has driven up rental prices, exacerbating the affordability issue.

Beyond Affordability: Deeper Ramifications

While affordability is a significant aspect of the housing crisis, it is essential to recognise that the issue runs deeper. The ramifications of the housing crisis extend beyond the immediate financial strain on individuals and families.

Social and Economic Impacts

The housing crisis has profound social and economic impacts. One of the most pressing concerns is the growing inequality in housing access. As property prices continue to rise, the gap between those who can afford to buy or rent and those who cannot widens. This disparity can lead to social stratification, where only the affluent can secure housing in desirable locations, pushing lower-income families to the fringes of the city.

Moreover, the housing crisis can stifle economic growth. High housing costs can deter skilled workers from relocating to Sydney, impacting the city’s labour market and overall economic productivity. Businesses may struggle to attract and retain talent, which can have long-term implications for Sydney’s economic development.

Mental Health and Well-being

The stress associated with securing affordable housing can also have adverse effects on mental health and well-being. The constant pressure to meet high mortgage or rental payments can lead to anxiety and depression. For families, the instability of housing can disrupt children’s education and overall quality of life.

Is the Language Unnecessarily Alarmist?

Some may argue that it has been extremely difficult to buy or rent in Sydney for many years and nothing has really changed. One might question whether the term “housing crisis” is unnecessarily alarmist. It is crucial to approach this question with a balanced perspective.

The Role of Media

Media plays a significant role in shaping public perception. The use of the term “crisis” can indeed evoke a sense of urgency and alarm. Does this language accurately reflect the reality of the situation? In the case of Sydney’s housing market, the challenges are substantial and have far-reaching consequences both now and in the future. Therefore, describing the situation as a crisis is not an exaggeration but rather a reflection of the gravity of the issue.

The Need for Awareness and Action

Identifying the problems by using strong and plain language such as “crisis” can serve a purpose beyond merely capturing attention. It can galvanise action from policymakers, stakeholders, and the community. Recognising the housing situation as a crisis underscores the need for immediate and effective interventions. It can prompt the government to implement policies aimed at increasing housing supply, improving affordability, and supporting vulnerable populations.

Navigating the Housing Market with Buyers’ Agents

In this complex and challenging housing market, the role of buyers’ agents becomes increasingly vital as we help our clients to find the most suitable properties for their budgets against a backdrop of low stock and high competition. At Buyer’s Domain, we understand the intricacies of Sydney’s property market and are committed to helping our clients navigate these challenges.

Expertise and Market Knowledge

Our team of experienced buyers’ agents possesses extensive knowledge of the Sydney property market. We stay abreast of market trends, including up-and-coming locations, price surges, and off-market properties. This expertise allows us to provide our clients with well-informed advice and strategic guidance.


Sydney’s housing crisis is a multifaceted issue with deep-rooted implications for affordability, social equity, and economic growth. While the language used to describe the situation may seem alarmist, it reflects the severity of the challenges faced by many in the market. As buyers’ agents, we are dedicated to supporting our clients through these turbulent times, providing expert advice and tailored services to help them achieve their property goals.

For those looking to navigate Sydney’s housing market, partnering with experienced buyers’ agents can make a significant difference. We invite you to contact us to discover how we can assist you in finding the perfect property in this competitive landscape.

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