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Affordability and the Great Australian Dream



Why affordability is more than what you pay on auction day

No one shopping for a new mobile phone would sign up for a plan without considering both the upfront costs AND the monthly service costs over the life of the phone.

But this is exactly what most of us do with houses.

The cost of operating a home over its lifetime is an essential element of its long-term affordability. But if you’re like most people, you’ve probably never considered the lighting, heating, cooling or energy use when you’re doing the sums to work out whether you can afford your mortgage repayments.

According to the Australian Energy Market Commission's 2016 Residential Electricity Price Trends report, future electricity prices are on the rise in most parts of the country – and you can expect your energy bill to climb by an extra $200 a year in some states.

There is a solution – and that’s to think about housing affordability as part of a package.

We need to ask: how much will this home cost me over time, rather than just on the day the auctioneer’s hammer falls?

Buildings with Green Star ratings use 66% less electricity than average Australian buildings. They also consume 51% less water. This means they are cheaper to run – saving thousands of dollars in utility bills each year.

Just one real-world example of these savings can be found at Forté in Melbourne. The tallest timber apartment building in the world, Forté is built of cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is manufactured using layers of timber to create solid panels.

Using CLT offers better thermal performance and requires less energy to heat and cool. This has reduced energy and water costs by around 25%, saving residents around $300 each year.

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