The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has expressed little surprise at the news that a survey of community service providers lists housing availability and affordability as the biggest problem facing the sector and the greatest drain on resources.
A survey by the Australian Council of Social Services of 500 service providers released this week says a lack of affordable housing is having a 'devastating impact' and that nearly 70% of housing and homeless service providers report that they struggle to meet demand.
"There has been a failure by successive governments at a state and federal level to address the fundamental constraints to housing delivery," says HIA chief executive industry policy and media, Graham Wolfe.
"Residential construction is currently experiencing its longest trend decline in post-war history, which is being driven in part by the excessive and inefficient taxation on housing, a tight credit supply and state planning systems that constrain the timely and cost effective delivery of housing."
Wolfe further argues that a shortage of homes being built impacts on the rental market at ‘all levels’.
"Families that would have otherwise been owner-occupiers instead now compete for rental properties. This places cost pressures on those already in the rental market. Families that can now no longer afford the rental accommodation they need due to more competition, move to a lower price point and so on it goes."
"At the end of this cascading effect is the people who are the most vulnerable, but they have nowhere else to go and this has a social and economic cost to the entire community."
The housing industry has long held concerns about the impact of a lack of housing to the Australian community, which has prompted HIA to convene a summit this week in Sydney to explore these issues.
"The Housing Australia's Future summit will consider the cause of, and policy solutions to, the housing affordability challenge facing Australia," says Wolfe.
"The summit will also take a deeper look at the possible social consequences of a long term lack of affordable and adequate shelter for the Australian community."