This brief paper looks at the problems of measuring and conceptualizing housing affordability and the uses to which such measures are put. I do not want to repeat the ground paved by King (1994), Bray (1995) and Landt and Bray (1995) in their papers which focused largely on the technical problems in the major measure of affordability used in Australia, the 25 or 30% housing cost to income benchmark This paper takes a different perspective and includes, first, a new method of measuring affordability not discussed in either of these papers, the budget standard method, and second, raises concerns that we have become trapped by the current affordability measures and we need to move on to new ways of thinking about affordability if we are to put affordable houses on the ground rather than debate how big the problem is and what are its causes. [Introduction]
Parts of the material in this paper were produced with funding from the Australian Government and the Australian States and Territories. AHURI Ltd gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support it has received from the Australian, State and Territory governments, without which this work would not have been possible.