Australia’s HIA : Budget is a step to housing affordability

The focus on housing in tonight’s Budget is an important step in addressing the complex housing affordability challenge that Australia faces according to Housing Industry Association.

Graham Wolfe, HIA Deputy Managing Director said “the Budget’s housing focus will send important signals to state and local governments and the community that the Government is serious about meeting the challenge of delivering more affordable housing

“There are no simple solutions but providing well targeted assistance to help first home buyers save for their first home and to providers of community housing through the ‘National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’ will make a difference.

“Although not an affordability measure, the incentives for ‘downsizers’ will also help stimulate the supply of new housing more appropriate to the needs of our seniors.

“Much of the work to improve housing affordability rests with state and local governments and the Budget has made significant commitments to encourage action. The National Housing Infrastructure Facility has $1 billion behind it which is more than just window dressing.

“Linking the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement’s $1.8 billion to the states and local governments delivering improved housing supply and better planning systems is a significant and welcome reform.

“The ‘city deals’ expansion into smaller scale projects is also a welcome development: the big ticket projects are important but much can be achieved by removing obstacles to more efficient delivery of homes.

“However HIA is concerned about the negative impacts on residential building from the Budget’s measures on foreign investment.

“Plans to tax vacant homes, limit the share of foreign investment in new projects and increase foreign investor duties all send exactly the wrong signal to potential investors in Australia. Barriers to investment are not productive for the building industry or the economy more broadly; investment needs to be encouraged.

“HIA would urge the Government to build on the Budget’s initial steps towards more affordable housing by making this a standing item on the COAG agenda.

“In the meantime HIA will continue to urge the Government to undertake a thorough national inquiry into housing affordability and establish a mechanism for the regular monitoring of the crucial supply of land for the residential building industry”, Mr Wolfe concluded.

Source: HIA

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