REIA urges government to act on housing affordability

The cumulative housing shortage is likely to increase from 100,000 dwellings in 2006 to 375,000 in 2015

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is urging all levels of government to do their part to improve housing affordability, to "stem the exodus of first home buyers" from the Australian residential market.

REIA CEO Amanda Lynch commented on the situation at the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into Affordable Housing at Parliament House in Canberra.

“We have seen home ownership in Australia fall and first home buyer numbers at near historic lows. Governments at all levels must address structural factors that reduce the responsiveness of supply to demand,” says Ms Lynch.

According to projections from REIA’s recent roundtable at Parliament House, the cumulative housing shortage is likely to increase from 100,000 dwellings in 2006 to 375,000 in 2015. Ms Lynch stressed that issues with housing affordability could also impact on an area's socio-economic traits.

“Studies have found that the stability associated with home ownership ultimately contributes to positive social outcomes, such as improved education levels for children, better mental and physical health, and greater social connectedness and participation in local community and voluntary organisations,” added Ms Lynch.

REIA’s housing affordability recommendations, as discussed in the REIA submission to the senate economics reference committee inquiry into affordable housing, include:

  • That all states and territories recommit to the IGA, which states that assistance to first home buyers should be across the board for new and established homes
  • That the Commonwealth Government assess the various international schemes that assist first home buyers, including the release of superannuation, and replicate those successes in Australia
  • That negative gearing be retained in its current form for the purpose of property investment to underpin the viability of the rental sector
  • That conveyance stamp duties be abolished and replaced by an efficient source of revenue for states and territories