OPINION: Joe puts his wealth in his mouth again

AFTER his poor people don't drive cars gaff you'd expect Treasurer Joe Hockey to be a bit gun-shy about the comments he put out in the public arena.

And it's true, since his unfortunate comment after the 2014 budget, Mr Hockey has managed reasonably well at avoiding any fresh I'm-rich-and-you're-not outrages - until now.

Mr Hockey's comment that the best way to afford a flash house is to "get a good job that pays good money" is a real head-slapper.

If only it were so simple.

At the same time, that piece of advice, useless though it may be to many of us, is possibly no worse than any other piece of advice on how to break into, and stay in, the housing market.

There is lots of talk about housing "bubbles" and the overvaluing of parts of the market, particularly in Sydney (and if Sydney has a housing bubble, what does Byron Bay have?). There is also, and has been for years, talk about easing pressure on prices by increasing the available housing stock.

It never seems to happen.

A big part of the reason is the potential impact on people who have made the very great leap into the housing market should their investments suddenly lose value and particularly if the value of their homes falls much below the size of their mortgages.

Another part is the simple cost of building a home these days.

It's no coincidence that you can buy a beautiful old Federation home on leafy Girards Hill for far less than the cost a new home in a new estate - and a large part of it comes down to developer fees and the cost of building to legislated standards.

If you're looking for an easy answer on housing affordability, "get a good job that pays good money" might be as simple as you're likely to get.

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