Australian cities among World’s least affordable

Opinion 2Demographia’s 13th annual International Housing Affordability Survey shows that Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth are in the top 20 least affordable housing markets. According to the survey, Sydney is the second most unaffordable major housing market in the world behind Hong Kong, with Melbourne coming in fifth place.

Judging by their inaction, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison must be proud of this global notoriety for Australia’s major cities.

Australia has one of the most generous tax concessions for property investors in the world and the Federal Coalition Government simply refuses to countenance reforms to negative gearing or the capital gains tax discount.

It’s one thing to be doing nothing, but since the 2013 election, the Coalition has actively made housing affordability worse.

No Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness has been appointed, and there is no national housing affordability plan being implemented.

The Coalition have also abolished the National Housing Supply Council and shut down the National Rental Affordability Scheme that provided over 30,000 new affordable housing units and was on track to achieve its target of 50,000. The Government continues to ignore the advice of independent economists, international economic agencies and think-tanks, who argue that Australia’s housing affordability crisis needs more than blaming the states for a lack of housing supply.

Recently, the Government has started to talk about housing affordability like it’s just discovered there’s a problem.

And yet, the Prime Minister and Treasurer manifestly refuse to accept any responsibility for this crisis or exert any leadership in the area with the main levers of government available to the Commonwealth, namely tax reform and tax incentives for property investors.

A trip to London will not fix the housing affordability crisis, especially when the Treasurer refuses to accept the Tory Government itself has reformed negative gearing!

If Australia’s housing markets aren’t working to give young first home buyers a decent chance at entering them, then they are failing.

And so it is only Labor that has a responsible plan to level the playing field by reforming negative gearing concessions – so that young families have a shot at the great Australian dream of owning their own home.

Chris Bowen & Jenny Macklin 

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