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Populism must not drive NSW housing policy

NSW Labor’s claim that foreign nationals have purchased up to 11 per cent of properties in NSW from July to September 2016 is bogus and a distraction from the need to find real solutions to the housing affordability crisis in NSW.

Residential land related transfer duty figures published by the Office of State Revenue (OSR) show there were 52,627 transactions between July and September last year. This means that the 2,995 houses purchased by ‘foreigners’ quoted by Labor would be 5.7 per cent of the total, instead of the claimed 11 per cent.

The use of the term ‘foreign nationals’ is also misleading. Foreign nationals include permanent residents and those here on working visas. These are people who pay tax and have a legitimate right to buy and own a property in NSW.

“The issue of housing affordability in NSW is too important to be muddied by a scare campaign – it stops us from developing real solutions to housing affordability and short changes the community,” Property Council NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald said today.

“NSW has real housing issues that require real solutions including:

• stamp duty, which adds $40,000 to the price of a home in Sydney and takes up 38 per cent of a household’s annual income;

• housing projects that are stuck in the planning system for two to three years, and

• the lack of infrastructure in some areas desperately needed to unlock land for housing supply.

“The focus of the debate on housing must be on economic and regulatory levers that can be pulled to boost supply and meet growing demand - a demand that will always exist while Sydney is a global city, growing and competing with international cities like New York, London or Singapore.”

Media contact: William Power| M 0429 210 982 | E wpower@propertycouncil.com.au