Housing now the highest priority for Australians

19 October 2023
Survey shows working from home reduces, while confidence in public transport rises
Half of Australians now consider housing our biggest national priority, according to the latest report from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) at the University of Sydney Business School.
Professor David Hensher

Professor David Hensher

Conducted in September, the latest biannual Transport Opinion Survey of 1029 Australians revealed 51 percent chose housing as one of the two highest priorities in Australia today – a rapid jump from 42 percent in March, and the highest level for housing since the first survey was conducted in 2010.

41 percent of Australians also chose employment and the economy as one of their two highest priorities.

“This shows how severe the housing situation is, and how fast it has become a leading problem with no immediate solutions,” said Professor David Hensher AM, Director of ITLS.

“There is a significant link between transport and housing given that many new housing developments are currently not well serviced by transport options.”

Public confidence in transport has recovered from the first quarter of 2023, up from 76 to 83 index points, but is still lower than the high of 94 recorded in September last year.

Professor Hensher said the positive public views on transport are related to improvements in the public transport sector, such as better on-schedule services and fewer industrial actions since the survey in March.

“Australians are, however, more dissatisfied with road improvements, including poor road conditions and infrastructure damage.

“They’re also coping with the high cost of living and fuel costs, but the pressure has eased very slightly given the on-hold interest rate and stable unemployment rate.”

Working from home reduced, online shopping on the rise

While the hybrid work model has established itself, the incidence of working from home has continued to decrease, with Australians on average now working one-to-two days a week from home.

Workers in Victoria and NSW spend the highest number of days working from home, averaging nearly one day a week, compared to 0.83 days a week on average for those in Queensland, and lower in other states and territories.

The trend holds true among the capital cities, where workers in Melbourne work from home more than in other cities, averaging at just over one day a week.

Compared to the results in March 2023, the number of days working from home has reduced in all capital cities – attributed to an increased return to face-to-face activities at the office or elsewhere.

“We are not yet in a position to suggest some permanent stability in the overall incidence of working from home, in large part as a result of adjustments still occurring for professionals and sales people,” said Professor Hensher.

“We do anticipate a hybrid working model that supports one-to-two days a week working from home for most capital cities in the near future.”

The return to the office has been marked by a corresponding rise in online shopping, with 78 percent of Australians purchasing something online over the past two weeks, compared to 70 percent in March 2023.

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Harrison Vesey

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