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Housing affordability and supply in the spotlight

Housing affordability is set to be the focus after an inquiry into Australia’s housing supply was announced late today.

Set to be conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue, the inquiry will examine the falling levels of home ownership across the nation, along with the actions government can take.

“As data provided by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the Treasury and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows, home ownership, one of the building blocks of Australian society, has been falling for the last 30 years,” Chair of the Committee, Jason Falinski MP, stated.

“In my view, this represents an urgent moral call for action by governments of all levels to restore the Australian dream for this generation and the ones that follow.

“Arguments about the impact of increased subsidies and tax concessions on housing have continued for some time.

“There is ample evidence that points to the small effect such measures have on supply, indeed the research points to limitations on land and restrictive planning laws as the major causes of shortages in supply.

“As consistently noted by the RBA and others, regulatory settings are directly responsible for the unresponsive nature of housing supply in Australia.

Mr Falinski noted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had conducted an analysis of Australia’s housing market, flagging its very high ratio of housing prices to household incomes.

“The OECD concluded that Australia’s unusually high level of inelasticity in housing is the major driver of this ratio. This has resulted in our country having the fourth-fastest house price growth out of the world’s advanced economies over the past 20 years,” he said.

“This is best demonstrated by the following fact: total residential private building approvals decreasing 44 per cent across the nation from 2016 – 2020 compared to the previous five-year period according to the ABS.

“While market supply has collapsed with new home listings down to record lows according to Core Logic using the most recent five-year average.

“It is with this context that the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue will investigate the impact of tax and regulatory regimes on price, affordability, and supply of housing in Australia today as well as into the future.”

Submissions from interested individuals and organisations are invited by Monday 13 September 2021.

The preferred method of receiving submissions is by electronic format lodged online using a My Parliament account.

Further information about the inquiry including the terms of reference is available here.

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.