Australians have brutally mocked the Reserve Bank governor’s suggestion that people should take on a roommate to help solve the housing crisis.
Philip Lowe told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the housing crisis could be alleviated if rents and house prices rise even more, forcing people to move into shared housing.
Lowe proposed a response to one aspect of the housing crisis, the decline in the number of Australians per household since 2020.
At the start of the pandemic, there were about 2.6 residents per Australian home, a figure that has now fallen below 2.55.
By some estimates, this means that an additional 140,000 houses and apartments are now needed to house Australia’s existing population.
Philip Lowe told a Senate hearing that the housing crisis could be eased if rents and house prices rise even more, forcing people to get a roommate
The RBA governor’s comments were criticized by many on social media and in media statements
Mr Lowe blamed the pandemic for fewer people living in Australian homes, a change that conflicts with a widely accepted property shortage.
‘The population will grow by two percent this year, will there be two percent more homes? No,’ he said.
His response was that rents and house prices continue to rise, scaring away single residents and instead forcing them to share more often.
‘Don’t the higher prices cause people to economize on housing? Kids don’t leave home because the rent is too expensive, or you decide to get a roommate or roommate,” he said.
‘On average we need more people to live in each house and the prices do that.’
In two-thirds of Sydney, rents rose by more than 10 percent in the past year, with increases in Melbourne even greater.
In the city of Melbourne, rents have increased by 46.7 percent between April 2022 and 2023, and in 20 suburbs, rents have increased by at least 16.5 percent.
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, the Tenants’ Union of NSW accused Lowe of “missing the point” of the housing crisis with his advice.
“Like all advice that tries to place the blame for the problems of the housing system on the people affected by those problems, this advice misses the point,” said Leo Patterson Ross, CEO of Tenants’ Union.
“Housing is an essential service and the responsibility for its failure lies with the government.
“Due to problems in our tax, planning and regulatory systems, we are not ensuring that people have quality, safe and affordable homes.”
The Tenants Union said sharing is the only option for many Aussies who must pay less, but people should not be forced to give up their privacy
Mr Patterson Ross said sharing was the only option for many Aussies to reduce their costs, but it was ‘not appropriate for many people, and people shouldn’t give up their privacy at home if they don’t want to’.
Lowe’s name was trending on Twitter on Wednesday for his controversial comments.
He was labeled ‘out of touch’ by irate Aussies on social media.
“He has no idea,” said a single father who lives in a mansion with three children.
“I’m hardly going to move in with my mom in her three-bedroom house or get a rando to live with me to pay my rent with my kids.”
Maiy Azize, frontman of Everybody’s Home, a national campaign to end Australia’s housing crisis, said Low “don’t get it.”
“Young people are living at home longer than any other generation,” she tweeted.
‘Working people share a home until their thirties and forties.
“Many low-income people are stuck in overcrowded houses.
‘Learning people who are already the losers of the system doesn’t help.’
Ms Azize claimed that domestic violence could worsen if such a suggestion was taken seriously.
“Women shouldn’t have to choose between sharing a home with an abusive partner or becoming homeless,” she said.
One man tweeted that Lowe’s comments had made him “so angry.”
“When are we firing this, lying, gaslighting, incompetent shill?”
“The man is an absolute idiot and has lost touch with reality,” one woman said on Facebook.
“He seems to think it’s the mortgagee’s responsibility to fix inflation.
“He would like everyone to lose their homes and live in poverty so that they have no money to spend.
Mr Lowe was also roundly mocked for suggesting that people could help solve the housing crisis by sharing their homes with others
“Stupid old fool.”
But just as many commentators simply mocked Lowe.
“Phil is lonely and needs roommates,” said one man.
“Philip Lowe earns $1 million a year and lives in a five-bedroom, Victorian-era home with wood floors and marble fireplaces…does he have four roommates or is it just the poor he expects to house?” said another commenter.
A Sydney lawyer joked, “F*** yeah, I’m moving in with Philip Lowe!”
‘I can’t wait to see my new rooms, I bet we have a great view of something.
“We’re going to wear pajamas and discuss the natural flavor of unemployment and ethics.”
“We’re all going to move in with Uncle Phil. I’m sure he won’t mind.’
Journalist Caitlin Cassidy proposed a ‘petition’ for Lowe to try out shared housing in Sydney.