REIA unveils wish list for first-home buyers, investors

By Gerv Tacadena

Ahead of the likely elections next year, the group listed some key policies to ensure the housing market withstands the impact of the pandemic

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) released a set of policies needed to help first-home buyers and investors in Australia.

REIA's Getting Real report outlined six key policy priorities that would not only help the housing market but also ensure sustainable profits for real estate businesses. These include:

  • Ensuring supply of Australian real estate
  • Addressing the needs of first-home buyers and investors
  • Establishing fair taxation agenda for homeowners
  • Laying out plans for city and regional housing markets
  • Promoting sustainable real estate
  • Rolling out support to real estate businesses

REIA president Adrian Kelly said the report advances and promotes private property markets as Australia’s economy withstands the sustained impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Getting Real sets the agenda for real estate in Canberra, drives reform and shapes funding opportunities in future Federal Budgets as well as for the looming Federal Election," he said.

"In the lead up to the next Federal Election, it’s time to get real about real estate policy and to help agents do what they do best – help Australians into homes.”

Wish list for first-home buyers and investors

One of the key priorities laid out in the report focuses on first-home buyers and investors and how they can be helped amid current market conditions.

The report pointed out that the recent gains in property prices, which are also affecting the rental market, have worsened affordability.

Government policies, interest rates, lending rules, and limited supply are considered major factors at play that could potentially impact activity in the housing market.

REIA has identified some crucial things that should be in place to help different buyer groups achieve their homeownership goals.

First-home buyers

REIA said rising property prices and low listing numbers make it a struggle for this group to enter the market.

While government incentives have been successful in boosting activity from the group, REIA said there is still a need for policies that would further make housing accessible to first-time buyers.

Here's what REIA wants for first-home buyers to have:

  • Long term support and expansion of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS)
  • Continued expansion of the First Home Super Save Scheme (FHSSS)
  • Interest rates being tax deductible for the first five years of a first-home buyer’s loan
  • Education on finance in schools and universities
  • Free financial advice for under 30s

Investors

Rental eviction moratoriums and rent freezes have left many investors, particularly mum-and-dad ones, vulnerable.

Furthermore, the current reforms on tenancy rights seem to be favouring tenants too heavily.

REIA said many housing markets across Australia have seen a wind back from investors, reducing rental supply.

To ensure healthy participation of investors in the market. REIA said there is a need to do the following:

  • Retain capital gains tax and negative gearing in their current form until an extensive review can be done to inform an improved alternative tax structure
  • Avoid rent controls and regulatory burdens placed on investors
  • Ensure rental eviction moratoriums to remain in place only for as long as necessary

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters.

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