Issues in housing were a major contributor to the global financial crisis. However, austerity measures implemented since 2008 have not resolved the issues.  

In Ireland, a quarter of borrowers are paying over 60% of their income in mortgage repayments. This is double the level of payments that would be considered to make housing “affordable”, and significantly impacts people’s ability to purchase the other goods necessary for a decent standard of living.

There has also been a peak in defaults and foreclosures since the financial crisis. The rate of US home foreclosures soared to over 200,000 per month in 2009. More recently, there were 801,359 properties with default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in the US in the first half of 2013. That is a remarkably high number of people who must experience the distress of losing their home.

In many austerity-driven economies, a considerable percentage of mortgages are in negative equity (where the house’s market value falls below the outstanding amount on the mortgage). In Ireland  this is the case for 31% of mortgages, in Spain it is 24% , in the US 21.5%, and 10% in the UK. This condition will set homeowners back years with the repayments on their mortgages.  

Austerity measures on housing, including the lack of a government spending on homelessness, and the stopping of the National Rental Affordability Scheme, will see more and more people in Australia losing their homes and becoming homeless.