Government to build 1.2 million homes over five years

Housing supply the answer to the rental crisis, REBAA says

Government to build 1.2 million homes over five years


By Mina Martin

The Australian government is bringing homeownership back into reach for thousands of Australians who have been locked out of the housing market via the Help to Buy Scheme.

“Our government will help 40,000 low- and middle-income families buy a home,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured above left) said.

“So, often these Australians have done all the right things – worked hard, saved up, made sacrifices, but a deposit for a home is still out of reach. Our government will step up and assist, opening the door of homeownership to tens of thousands of Australians.”

Under Help to Buy, eligible participants in all states and territories are provided with an equity contribution of up to 40% for new homes and 30% for existing homes.

The National Cabinet has announced a new national target to build 1.2 million well-located new homes over five years, from July 1. It also committed to run the following initiatives:

  • The New Homes Bonus, a $3-billion performance-based funding for states and territories who achieve more than their Accord targets and undertake reforms to boost housing supply and improve housing affordability
  • The Housing Support Program, a $500-million competitive funding program for local and state governments to kick-start housing supply
  • A Better Deal for Renters which includes developing a nationally consistent policy to require genuine reasonable grounds for eviction, moving towards limiting rental increases to once a year and phasing in minimum rental standards

The Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) welcomed the sharp increase in housing supply, saying it was the answer to the rental crisis.

“Renters are being forced out of areas, rental prices are soaring, and homelessness is a harsh reality for so many,” REBAA President Cate Bakos (pictured above right) said.

“However, the rhetoric that has bounced around our nation for decades has been misguided at best. Sadly, policymakers have listened to cries of ‘greedy landlord’ without actually understanding the root cause of the issue when rents start rising.”

Bakos was pleased about the national cabinet’s focus on more secure and affordable housing as well as its commitment to national planning reform, adding that not much would have been achieved to support renters if governments had continued to disincentivise private residential property investment and demonise landlords.

“That’s why the range of priorities announced after the National Cabinet will be well received by the wider industry,” Bakos said. “It shows that all levels of government are committed to increasing the supply of housing, rather than promoting punitive rental reforms that would see more investors exit the market and put further upward pressure on rents.”

In a statement, Housing Minister Julie Collins said bringing homeownership back into reach for 40,000 Australians is a critical element of the government’s broad and ambitious housing agenda to help address Australia’s housing challenges.

This includes the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, which will help fund 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes in its first five years; the new $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator to deliver thousands of new social homes across Australia, and $350 million to deliver 10,000 affordable homes through the National Housing Accord over five years from 2024.

To date, more than 50,000 Australians have been assisted into homeownership through the Home Guarantee Scheme, including more than 6,000 through the new Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee.

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