Kevin Rudd should appoint a dedicated Minister for Housing within Cabinet, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).
“The commonwealth cannot focus properly on housing issues without a specific minister to oversee this and to coordinate a policy response across Australia in consultation with state, territory and local governments,” said Noel Dyett, president, REIA.
This minister should engage with state and territory ministerial counterparts said Dyett, as well as with industry representatives and other stakeholders to ensure that policy promises are carried out correctly.
“The REIA looks forward to the Rudd government implementing its housing affordability policies as soon as possible, including the First Home Saver Account Scheme, the National Rental Affordability Scheme and the Housing Affordability Fund,” said Dyett.
“Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on housing occupancy and costs show that between 2003 and 2006, some 44.5% of all first homebuyers spent more than 30% of their gross income on housing costs, while 10.4% spent more than 50%.
“Those first homebuyers in the lowest income quintile were hardest hit, with 67.2% spending more than 30% of their gross income on housing.”
Home loan affordability data released in the September quarter Deposit Power/REIA Home Loan Affordability Report found that home loan affordability had reached a 22-year low, with 36.6% of family income required to meet average loan repayments on new home loans.
“Housing is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Dyett. “With affordability issues reducing the ability of young people and renters to become homebuyers, we’re potentially creating a significant economic gap between the housing 'haves’ and the ‘have nots’.”