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'One of the best long reads on housing and possible solutions that you can come across' —Rafael Epstein

One of the great mysteries of Australian life is that a land of sweeping plains, with one of the lowest population densities on the planet, has a shortage of land for houses. As a result, Sydney is the second most expensive place to buy a house on Earth, after Hong Kong.

The escalation in house prices is a pain that has altered Australian society; it has increased inequality and profoundly changed the relationship between generations – between those who have a house and those who don't. It has caused a rental crisis, a dearth of public housing and a mortgage crunch.

Things went seriously wrong at the start of the twenty-first century, when there was a huge and permanent rise in the price of housing. In this crisp, clarifying and forward-looking book, Alan Kohler tells the story of how we got into this mess – and how we might get out of it.

This new edition adds material on homelessness, how much house prices in each city need to come down to be affordable, and lessons from overseas.

'A timely contribution from a master communicator' —Cameron Murray, Crikey