There are plenty of opportunities to improve housing affordability and supply if governments take note of recommendations tabled this week following a senate inquiry.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue has finally released its report* titled ‘The Australian Dream: inquiry into housing affordability and supply in Australia’, in which it makes 16 recommendations.
The report follows a seven-month parliamentary inquiry in which the Committee heard from the Australian Federal Government, state and local governments, industry groups, peak bodies, think tanks, academics, economists, unions, and the general public.
“It should not need to be stated, but home ownership matters”, said Chair of the Committee, Jason Falinski MP.
“It matters for reasons as diverse as wealth equality, mental health, childhood outcomes and democratic stability.
“But at the end of our months-long investigation, it does need to be reasserted that our nation was founded to be a classless society in which everyone got a chance to own their own home.”
According to Falinski, the primary driver of growing house prices is the lack of market response.
“We need to reform broken planning systems, fix inefficient regulation, and stop new home buyers unfairly bearing the brunt of taxes and charges that are designed to raise funds, not living standards”, he said.
“This report identifies opportunities for all levels of government to unlock more housing supply, create more affordable homes and increase home ownership.”
Many of the recommendations focus on increasing housing supply. By recommending the Australian Government implement policies which financially incentivise state and local governments to adopt better planning and property administration practices, upwards pressure on supply will be mitigated.
Further, incentivising state and local governments to directly tie taxes and levies to actual and meaningful infrastructure improvements will also serve to mitigate this upward pressure.
“The Committee is cognisant of the fact that a housing deposit is the largest barrier for first home buyers”, Falinski noted.
“Therefore, one of the key recommendations is that first home buyers be allowed to use their superannuation assets as security for a home loan.”
The report also makes recommendations regarding emerging housing models in Australia, including rent-to-own and build-to-rent housing.
A full copy of the Committee’s report can be found on the Inquiry’s website.