In a move that has been welcomed by the real estate industry, Housing Minister Julie Collins has introduced legislation into Parliament that establishes the Housing Australia Future Fund, the National Housing Supply and Affordability Council and Housing Australia.
With affordability at record low levels and tight vacancy rates across the country putting renters under extreme pressure, industry groups have been calling for more government initiatives to tackle the problem.
The government will invest $10 billion in the housing future fund, which will be the single biggest investment in social and affordable housing in a decade.
30,000 new homes in five years
The move will see 30,000 social and affordable homes built in the first five years of the fund, and investment returns would be used in perpetuity to construct more.
4000 homes of the newly constructed homes will be dedicated to women and children fleeing family and domestic violence, and older women at risk of homelessness.
Ms Collins said, “We know too many Australians can’t find anywhere affordable to live,
“We know too many Australians are facing high rents and wondering how they will make ends meet.
“The introduction of this legislation is a big step forward to start addressing these issues over the long term.
“The fund will also be a shot in the arm for our construction industry, keeping tradies on the tools” she said.
Communication a positive starting point
CEO of the Property Council of Australia, Mike Zorbas said bringing all levels of government and business together to solve the national housing supply crisis is a positive starting point.
“The legislation introduced today is an important first step in getting government and industry to work together to bridge the national housing deficit and stimulate the new supply that Australia desperately needs,” Mr Zorbas said.
The Property Council of Australia recently called for more government accountability through the use of scorecards that would rate the housing supply efforts of the states and territories and the effectiveness of planning regimes across the country.
Mr Zorbas said the housing crisis needs to be tackled immediately by all levels of government.
He said, “The Housing Supply and Affordability Council has no time to waste in reviewing barriers to institutional investment in housing,
“If we are serious about increasing housing choice and affordability, we need immediate changes to tax settings.”
Clarity needed around amendments
The Property Council has also called for further clarity on proposed amendments to the functions of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation as the new Housing Australia.
The proposed amendments could remove “investment” and could constrain financing solutions for the fund to only loans and grants.
Mr Zorbas said the Property Council would like to see assurances that the research function supporting the Housing Supply and Affordability Council will also be independent.
He said the industry is hopeful that these new initiatives will bring a much-needed boost to the housing market and make homeownership a reality for more Australians.
Article source: thepropertytribune.com.au