Thursday, July 11, 2024

Month: November 2022

Australian Treasury: Affordable housing is a key priority

Housing supply and affordability is one of the biggest challenges facing our economy and our communities.

With rents through the roof and vacancies through the floor, families are struggling to find an affordable place to live.

With unemployment rates at historic lows, it’s increasingly difficult for people to live close to where the jobs and opportunities are.

And with shortages of materials, skills and labour, it’s getting harder to build a new home.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that we work together to ensure there is an adequate supply of affordable housing where it is needed – close to jobs, transport and other services.

Today as part of the Albanese Government’s first Investor Roundtable, we’re bringing some of the nation’s most influential investors to the table to help unlock investment opportunities in national priority areas.

Starting with housing today, we will work closer than ever before with leading investors, major banks, global asset managers and superannuation funds to identify and overcome the barriers to investment.

Some of Australia’s largest investors are represented at the roundtable, with more than $2 trillion under management by the superannuation funds and institutional investors alone.

The roundtable recognises there’s an opportunity for government and investors to genuinely shift the needle on the housing challenge by working more closely together.

Governments at all levels can and will play an important role in this area – through the supply of land or the priority approval of important projects in close proximity to jobs and opportunities.

As the first order of business at today’s roundtable, we will discuss ways to build on our landmark National Housing Accord announced last month – an agreement with state and territory governments, local government and major investors to build more affordable, well‑located homes.

Our shared ambition is to build one million new well‑located homes over five years from 2024.

The Productivity Commission recently noted that with 411 dwellings per 1,000 people, Australia has one of the lowest housing stocks in the OECD. But in a time of growing social need and tightening fiscal constraints, the Commonwealth can’t address the significant challenges we face alone.

It’s the Government’s aspiration that the National Housing Accord will help reduce the forecast dip in construction that will only make the housing shortage worse.

As part of this agreement, the Commonwealth has committed $350 million investment to build an extra 10,000 new affordable homes over five years, and the states and territories have also come to the table with a commitment to build up to 10,000 additional homes over the same period.

At today’s forum, we will also discuss workable financing solutions to encourage greater investment in affordable housing and we’ll look to identify ways to help players around the room invest at scale, achieving commercial rates of return and developing a consistent investment pipeline.

All Australians have an interest in the availability of affordable housing close to jobs and opportunities – it’s equally as important for Australian workers as it is for Australian businesses.

For too long, the lack of affordable housing has served as a barrier for skilled workers who want to live closer to work and take advantage of the opportunities in our economy.

Delivering affordable homes close to jobs and industry is an important part of solving the labour and skills shortages that are holding our economy back.

As a government, we know that we always achieve more when we work together with states, territories, the private sector and communities.

Investor roundtables like the one I’m hosting today give us an opportunity to bring the key players around the table to coordinate our efforts in the best interests of all Australians.

By harnessing the power of Australian capital, we can deliver strong returns for investors and strong returns for our community.

Today’s roundtable is an important step forward in aligning our efforts.

Uncovering the Hidden Face of Homelessness

A new documentary tells the stories of the fastest growing demographic of homelessness in Australia.

Australians are well aware of the affordable housing crisis their nation is facing, an experience exacerbated by the ongoing impact of the pandemic and current economic climate, but what may come as a shock is the demographic most at risk of homelessness.

A new documentary aims to shed light on this alarming issue and make visible the stories of ageing women facing housing stress. Filmed over two and a half years, “Under Cover” features ten Australian women over 50 years old, who through no fault of their own, cannot pay their rent or mortgage.

Narrated by Margot Robbie, the documentary lays bare the intersection of sexism, ageism and poverty.

Young Australians staying with their parents to save for a house deposit

Young Australians live with their parents to save for a house deposit

The rising cost of living, including a lack of affordable housing, has changed the financial landscape for Australia’s youth.
According to the Young People’s Financial Strategies: Insights from the Australian Youth Barometer report from Monash University, young Australians often defined financial security as being able to afford material needs without worrying about money.

Saving and investing were listed as their main strategies for financial security, but many factors could influence that in a negative way, including paying for housing.

Interviewees said the prospect of living independently, especially paying rent, was a potential threat to their ability to save.

Getting serious about affordability

Higher-density housing is needed, and stamp duty and negative gearing have to go, according to KPMG Australia partner and chief economist Brendan Rynne.

In order to improve housing affordability, the government must institute reforms to allow for higher-density housing and remove market distortions like stamp duty and negative gearing, according to KPMG.

Speaking at The Australian-Melbourne Institute Economic and Social Outlook Conference, KPMG Australia partner and chief economist Brendan Rynne said the government needed to institute a combination of regulatory and tax reforms to address the affordability crisis. Rynne warned that the reforms should be instituted in unison to avoid an “investment freeze” that could only worsen the situation.