Sydney's housing affordability crisis is being artificially inflated by up to 90,000 properties standing empty in some of the city's most desirable suburbs according to the analysis by the UNSW's City Futures Research Centre. According to 2011 census, in Sydney's "emptiest" neighbourhood of the CBD, Haymarket and The Rocks, one in seven dwellings was vacant. Close behind were Manly-Fairlight, Potts Point-Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Neutral Bay - Kirribilli, which all had vacancy levels above 13 per cent. These neighbourhoods, together with central Sydney, account for nearly 7200 empty homes. I am liking the proposal being developed by the NSW Federation of Housing Associations that would see any long-term vacant properties hit with higher council rates - similar to parts of the UK. "If you're not using the home as a place for people to live ... in this crisis I think it's reasonable that there's an extra charge on that property," said the federation's chief executive Wendy Hayhurst. The additional revenue generated could be directed towards affordable housing, Ms Hayhurst said.