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Scapegoating foreign investors avoids the real solutions on housing affordability

Pinning the blame on foreign investors for housing affordability woes risks excusing governments from taking real action to help homebuyers, according to the Property Council of Australia.

“The trend towards scapegoating foreign investors is a race to the bottom that neglects the real challenges around housing affordability,” said the Property Council’s Chief of Policy and Housing, Glenn Byres.

"The focus of governments needs to be firmly fixed on the meaningful solutions they can take to tilt the balance back in favour of homebuyers.

"Cutting the excessive taxes and transaction costs, culling red tape, fixing dysfunctional planning systems and closing the deposit gap are greater priorities than gimmicks on foreign investment.

“The taxes and red tape costs imposed by government are baked into the cost of new housing and add up to 40 percent to the price paid by homebuyers.

“State governments have been too busy reaping the rewards of stamp duty in rising markets – with average homebuyers now paying over $50,000 in some capital cities as it rose almost 800 percent over 20 years.

“Housing markets are starting to groan under the weight of increased taxes and regulatory costs with approvals falling 17 percent in the past six months.

“Adding more taxes to foreign investment would actually hurt supply, particular at a time when lending conditions are more stringent on offshore income.

“Foreign investment is a healthy part of the mix – both through large-scale capital that funds development and individual buyers that boost pre-sales needed to take projects from concept to construction.”

Media contact:  Glenn Byres | M 0419 695 435 |  E gbyres@propertycouncil.com.au