The Labor Party has released a housing affordability discussion paper, which is aimed at informing Labor’s Housing Affordability Strategy that it will take to the next election. The discussion paper calls for submissions by 1 May 2015.
Below are some key extracts from this paper:
A key focus of this Discussion Paper is first home owners who are increasingly being locked out of the housing market. If first time home buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to get in to the market, it has the potential to exacerbate inequality between those who already own homes compared to those who cannot get in to the market. As the Grattan Institute recently pointed out in its ‘Wealth of Generations’ report, the wealth of households aged 24‐35 have gone backwards in recent times, in large part due to their inability to get into the housing market…
The median value of a Sydney property is now nearly ten times median income in that city. By this measure that makes Sydney the third most expensive city to live in the world. Melbourne is not far behind, ranked sixth most expensive in the world with the median value of a property costing nearly nine times median income in that city…
It is difficult to compare housing affordability between countries. But on most measures Australia has expensive housing relative to other advanced countries…
In total over fifteen important initiatives were introduced under the previous Labor Government: the National Rental Affordability Scheme; Housing Affordability Fund; National Housing Supply Council; First Home Saver Accounts; First Home Owners Boost Social Housing Initiative; bank guarantees and mortgage market support during the GFC; Homelessness White Paper The Road Home; A Place to Call Home; National Affordable Housing Agreement; National Partnership Agreements on social housing, homelessness and remote Indigenous housing; release of surplus Commonwealth land for housing; Henry review of taxes and transfer including housing related taxes and transfer; inquiry into homelessness legislation; Housing Help for Seniors; and COAG references on social housing reform, housing markets and city planning…
No mention, of course, of the Rudd Government’s disastrous abolition of foreign ownership rules in the wake of the GFC (later re-instated) or its massive first home buyer bribes.
The discussion paper then asks for feedback on 14 questions:
- To what extent are existing planning laws inhibiting the supply of new housing?
- What role could the Commonwealth play to encourage greater uniformity of planning rules across jurisdictions?
- To what extent have foreign purchases of residential housing affected affordability?
- Do you consider that first home buyer schemes are effective in improving housing affordability?
- What aspects of existing taxation arrangements act as barriers to housing affordability?
- How might taxation policy be designed to achieve positive housing affordability outcomes?
- Please provide your views in relation to the effectiveness of rent assistance in improving housing affordability?
- Do you consider that rent assistance is appropriately targeted towards those that face issues of housing affordability?
- Do you have a view on which sections of our community are expiring housing stress most acutely?
- What role might Government policy have in improving secure occupancy for renters in Australia?
- How might social and public housing best be targeted towards those who need it most in order to improve housing affordability?
- What role would you like to see the Commonwealth Government taking to improve housing affordability outcomes in both the short term and long term?
- How might the Commonwealth improve the transparency of arrangements around the National Affordable Housing Agreement between the Commonwealth, States and Territories?
- Are there any other issues not already covered in this Discussion Paper that you consider of high importance for improving housing affordability for Australians in the short and long term?
Hardly earth shattering stuff, but at least Labor is having a go. This is more than I can say for the Abbott Government, which has shown next to no interest in the housing affordability issue.