Blame game must not be on the menu at housing affordability summit

The summit meeting of federal, state and territory treasurers in Canberra to discuss housing affordability must not become another episode of the blame game says the Property Council of Australia.

“Australia’s dire housing affordability is a direct consequence of housing deficits in our cities,” says Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council.

“According to Federal Government data, Australia has a housing shortage of about 200,000 dwellings.

“We will also need an additional 100,000 new dwellings a year for the next 15 years to keep up with expected new demand.

“This is a vital meeting – because we cannot lock a generation of Australians out of owning their own home.

Mr Morrison said all levels of government could improve housing affordability.

“State governments alone collect over $20 billion in stamp duty every year. In NSW and Victoria, purchasers are now paying in excess of $30,000 on stamp duty for an average home.

“Planning laws as well can be reformed to remove unnecessary delays and costs which are driving up the costs of all new dwellings.

“More foreign investment is a way that we can increase supply and new state government taxes attacking foreign investment hinder this– and one of the advantages of more supply is that rents remain stable.

“As well, the Federal Government has a role to play with ‘competition style’ payments which can provide the state, territories and local government with the incentives to undertake planning reform.

“Deloitte Access Economics estimated such an approach could provide a $3 billion boost to the economy as well as locking in more housing supply.

“The treasurers’ summit must resist the ‘policy mirage’ of negative gearing. Scrapping negative gearing would create mayhem for investment and produce just a 0.49 per cent decrease in house prices. The costs to renters and the economy will be worse than any small benefit to home buyers.

Mr Morrison said UK Style ‘City Deals’, asset recycling and infrastructure planning can also play vital roles in ensuring our cities are liveable, sustainable, affordable and productive and should be part of any discussions.

Media contact: Paul Ritchie |  E: pritchie@propertycouncil.com.au