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Call for housing of Anglo-Asian fusion

Date

Megan Doherty

Bernard Salt.

Bernard Salt. Photo: Paul Jones

Canberra's building industry needed to wake up to the cultural demands of the national capital's fastest growing tribes - the Chinese and the Indians - when it designed future homes, demographer Bernard Salt warned on Thursday.

He suggested one of the biggest challenges over the next decade would be providing affordable housing to the ''entitled'' Generation Ys as they moved out of the family home and asked ''Where's my affordable house?''

He also questioned the focus on building separate houses on separate blocks when couples and singles were the fastest-growing households in Canberra.

Mr Salt told the ACT branch of the Property Council of Australia Canberra was becoming an ''Anglo-Asian-fusion'' community.

The latest census showed outside Australia, the most common country of birth for Canberra residents was Britain, followed by China and India.

This made Canberra unique in that other capital cities had New Zealanders, Greeks and Italians featuring more prominently.

''The difference between the ACT and the other major markets in Australia is that there are no Mediterranean influences. You can't see Greeks or Italians in this top [10] list. Not first-generation Greeks or Italians,'' he said.

Mr Salt said Chinese-born people in Canberra had increased 86 per cent between 2006 and last year, while those born in India had increased 115 per cent.

''Do you understand the cultural preferences and predilections, if you like, of these new forces in the ACT?

''In terms of delivering a property, do you understand the principles of feng shui?

''Do you understand the Hindu preference to have the cook-top in the kitchen facing east? … the Hindu preference not to have the bedhead facing west, which is the way they bury their dead?

''These cultural predispositions that we have grasped in Melbourne and Sydney for the Mediterranean populations we need to learn very quickly in terms of engaging the Chinese and Indian populations in Canberra,'' Mr Salt said

The president of the India Australia Association of Canberra, Raj Satija, said the ancient art of vastu shastra did influence the way a house was organised.

People wanted to cook facing the east where the sun rose because ''that gives positive energy'' and gave the food ''greatest value''.

A bed shouldn't face the west, he said, because that was the direction of hell. The most auspicious location of the house was the north-east corner where praying was done.

On other issues, Mr Salt said if he were a politician he would champion the cause of how Generation Y could access affordable housing as there was a surge in the population aged 30 to 39 in Canberra over the next decade.

''It's going to strike a chord with a major segment of the market,'' he said.

The census also showed that separate houses comprised 41 per cent of the additional dwellings built between 2006 and last year in Canberra but over the same time families represented only 27 per cent of the increased population while singles and couples represented 59 per cent of the increase.

''Couples and singles don't need separate houses on separate blocks of land. What you're building is actually different to the demand drivers,'' Mr Salt said, adding there should be a move towards more semi-detached and unit dwellings.

13 comments

  • I for one object to the wording of this article. The term 'tribes' does nothing to help any recently-arrived citizens of our country to feel part of our community. Next time I see my friend Thomas, who was born in India, I'll ask him about his 'tribe', and wait for his reaction.

    The pejorative connotations of the word are disgusting, and the Editor should have called the author to order. Improve your standards, Canberra Times.

    Commenter
    Citizen
    Location
    Amaroo
    Date and time
    November 16, 2012, 9:45AM
    • "Tribes"?

      Commenter
      Sharron
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      November 16, 2012, 9:53AM
      • If people are already coming here, then surely there is not such a issue to be culturally observant when building houses. People can simply choose an appropriate room layout when showing their ideas to their architect, or modify the premises themselves if they really want to.

        Commenter
        Jason
        Date and time
        November 16, 2012, 10:35AM
        • Unrealistic. It is very hard to modify the room layout of a unit, knock holes in the walls, change the windows or make any alterations to the plumbing whatsoever.

          And the bedrooms in them are usually so confned that there is only one possible way to located the bed and still be able to get in the door and into the closet.

          Commenter
          rego
          Location
          rego
          Date and time
          November 16, 2012, 1:30PM
      • Obviously a knowledgable person our Mr Salt but he needs to analyse the ACT government first before he can give real future direction.

        Commenter
        COOL OLD DOG
        Location
        ACT
        Date and time
        November 16, 2012, 11:02AM
        • What utter piffle.

          Commenter
          What ???
          Date and time
          November 16, 2012, 11:32AM
          • So Bernard Salt thinks Gen Y are sooks for being scared to take on $300K mortgages to buy a tiny apartment 30 min from the city.

            The message from these guys is always the same - borrow money, buy a house and suck it up. All because he hopes the market doesnt crash.

            This is the bloke that actually encourages people to get on internet forums and talk up property etc... to boost prices and counter negative sentiment.

            Commenter
            Stavros
            Date and time
            November 16, 2012, 11:59AM
            • More dribble from one of the property spruikers. Thanks god I have owned my home for years, but I do feel sorry for the naive that listen and buy their rubbish.
              Always trying to push squashing more and more units and houses into the smallest possible space for their developer mates. They claim people want to live like this.

              Rubbish, this is all about real estate and developer greed, and to hell with the social issues this type of living creates.. Sadly (or not so sadly:) for them the party is well and truly over.
              They are becoming increasingly more desperate as property prices fall, and stock grows at record levels (yeah shortage of housing.....right another lie!!)
              Still the reality though is if people had money and were able to get loans and enter into even more debt they would. They don't need spruikers to push them, they have jumped over each other in the past to go into more and more debt in pursuit of the 'aussie dream'.
              Hence our completely unsustainable current property prices.

              The facts are that Australia has the highest personal debt levels in the developed world, fast increasing cost of living, and slow wage increases and soon to be rising unemployment. Of course the current housing prices are unsustainable, and we will see even bigger corrections down over the coming months and years. Canberra for instance currently has record levels of unsold units, townhouses, and detached houses. Even the CEO of Westpac has gone on record as saying the days of big money from property are behind us, and we will be lucky to see ANY rises in value over the next decade!
              Ouch.

              Commenter
              Peter
              Date and time
              November 16, 2012, 12:33PM
              • Andrew who, what.

                Commenter
                NITRO GANGSTER
                Location
                ACT
                Date and time
                November 16, 2012, 12:41PM
                • This is the guy that overpaid one of his workers by $700 thousand dollars. He's not very perceptive and I wouldn't be following his advice if he said the sun would rise tomorrow in the east

                  Commenter
                  rego
                  Location
                  rego
                  Date and time
                  November 16, 2012, 1:28PM

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