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New NSW Premier to prioritise housing affordability, industry reacts

Just hours after being elected as New South Wales (NSW) 45th Premier, Gladys Berejiklian has vowed to address the much-touted housing affordability crisis and has made that her top priority while in government.

“I want to make sure that every average, hard-working person in this state can aspire to own their own home,” Berejiklian told a media conference after being elected to the role on Monday.

“That’s something that I valued and worked hard to do, and I want to make sure that everybody else has that opportunity as well.”

The Property Council NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald in a statement said she lauded the Premier for making housing affordability as one of her top three priorities while in government.

“We need at least 725,000 houses by 2036, and we won’t reach this figure unless we unlock more land and reform the planning system.

“Code assessment should be extended, and bottlenecks in the planning system need to be removed to ensure more homes can be built more quickly.

“The foreign investment tax must also be reformed – as it stands, it is a tax on housing supply and will push up prices further as it starts to bite. The new Premier should make an immediate contribution to improving affordability by confining the tax to final purchasers, not home suppliers,” she said.

Meanwhile, Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) president John Cunningham said the Premier should urgently look at reviewing the stamp duty which has not been examined for the past 30 years.

“A review of the tax system is necessary immediately,” Cunningham said.

“REINSW proposes a one-off 50 percent concession for the over 65’s up to $1 million, another step that will also help to get the supply chain moving.

“Premier Berejiklian and her government will see a $4 billion surplus for 2016–2017. By cutting stamp duty we are not asking the government to reduce its revenue, to the contrary we believe, based on the experiences in other states, which a reduction in the stamp duty rate will generate additional market activity,” he said.

PowerHousing Australia chief executive Nicholas Proud said despite an unprecedented housing boom in NSW; house prices remained high which he believes is the main reason leading to an affordability crisis.

“The New South Wales Premier’s prioritising housing affordability reflects the reality that despite record supply, there are growing waiting lists for public housing, and there are renters, first home buyers, owner occupiers as well as workers that are struggling to cover housing costs,” Proud said.

“As of September 2016, there were almost 71,000 dwellings constructed in New South Wales, which is a stark improvement from the 24,400 under construction in 2009. However, record delivery with a closer policy focus on areas such as seniors, social housing, first home buyers and key workers is critical.

“Nationally we have had a record supply of 230,000 homes being delivered right now, and yet we still have significant price growth across many parts of the country particularly in New South Wales. Record supply without strategic guidance could see all the tax uplift, jobs and improved supply lost in the coming year if there is not policy supporting the matching to each of these groups.

Berejiklian was sworn in as NSW Premier on Monday afternoon and takes over the premiership from Mike Baird, who resigned abruptly last Friday citing personal reasons.

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