Tackling Housing Affordability a Priority for Industry

The WA property industry has challenged the Government to introduce new measures to increase housing diversity to help improve housing affordability for singles, couples, families and seniors which will stimulate the economy through the construction of new dwellings.

The call comes in the wake of the 2016 Housing Affordability Study and the release of the Housing Industry Forecasting Group report today. The research shows that less than 10 per cent of Perth houses are affordable for households earning less than $68,000 a year, while the HIFG report shows that there currently exists a lack of housing diversity in Perth with over 80% of properties sold having three or more bedrooms.

“What these reports show is that there is a clear and present danger of West Australians being locked out of the housing market due to a lack of housing diversity and supplies of smaller more affordable dwellings” Property Council WA Executive Director Lino Iacomella said.

“Low and very low income earners are being driven to the fringes of Perth which adds further financial pressures, such as increased transport costs, and impacts on well-being.”

“The key to increasing housing affordability lies in boosting the diversity of Perth’s housing stock through targeted policy measures which promote infill development and foster housing mobility. One such measure would be the introduction of a stamp duty concession for eligible seniors looking to downsize.”

“Housing affordability and availability are cited as the two key barriers to downsizing for seniors - older downsizing home owners can pay between 8 and 10 per cent of the money they obtained after selling their home in stamp duty on their new dwelling.”

“This stops seniors freeing up much needed housing stock for other West Australians and keeps prices high. This is just one measure that the Property Council is calling on the next Government to prioritise to help all West Australians get a home that is affordable and suitable for their needs.”

Another key policy measure aimed at improving housing diversity and affordability would be to remove the stamp duty penalty for off-the-plan property purchases of new apartments.

“The current stamp duty structure should be reformed to create a level playing field between purchasing a new house and land package on the fringe with new apartments that are much needed in the middle ring suburbs of Perth.” Mr Iacomella said.