Hobart at the crossroads: How the city became a victim of its own success

Winter has arrived early in Hobart, and the bitterly cold winds howling down the mountains bring a sense of urgency to Rebecca Reynolds’ situation.

“The snow gets up to your knees,” she says, standing outside the caravan she shares with her husband and four of their five children. Her 17-year-old son, the eldest, opts to sleep in a swag. He blocks the wind with bales of stacked hay.

This has been home for the past six months, after the house the Reynolds family rented for three years sold to a mainlander. The caravan, parked at her brother-in-law’s rural property about 30 minutes out of the city, was supposed to be temporary.

Cradling a cup of tea to keep her hands warm, Reynolds explains she has made 70 rental applications. She just came from a house inspection, her sixth in a week. “We normally get a text message just to say we’ve been unsuccessful,” she says.

It’s frustrating because her husband, Simon, has full-time work in the crayfishing industry and the family has decades of rental references. “It’s draining, trying to stay positive. I’m in tears before the kids get up. Kids go to school, I’m in tears.”

The 36-year-old is among thousands of Tasmanians locked out of the housing market.

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