Government’s clever policy to boost Social Housing is a home run says UDIA

Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) welcomes the Albanese Government’s new $2bn Social Housing Accelerator as a breakthrough initiative that will directly drive new social and affordable housing and give Australia’s political leadership the impetus to get moving on the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF).

The announcement today will see States and Territories get a direct cash injection of $2bn on a per capita basis to build or refurbish social housing and reform planning laws over the next two years. It will do this without jeopardising the estimated $4.2bn May surplus.

“This is a clever initiative that not only directly boosts housing supply at the most critical end of the spectrum and incentivises streamlined planning but also delivers a solution that all politicians can get behind to pass the HAFF without jeopardising an already fragile housing market,” said Max Shifman, UDIA National President.

Australia needs measures that boost housing supply now, and this initiative has come at a critical point for the housing market and not a moment too soon as there is now a clear, balanced pathway forward for the HAFF that answers the most material concerns across the political spectrum.  It is a call to action for the Senate to get moving on the historic HAFF measures that will secure a workable framework for delivering Affordable and Social Housing over the next 25 years.

Dwelling commencements are down 21% on a 12-month rolling average and rental listings are down 32% on the long run average. The chronic lack of supply has seen housing land prices jump 24% since last year and national house rental pricing has grown 45% since March 2020. Sales of national greenfield lots are down 49% with drops as high as 70% in some markets, but prices have only accelerated. Worst still, NHFIC predicts a dwelling shortfall of 21,260pa for at market housing, and 45,000pa for social/affordable.

Every month that HAFF is delayed, we fall a further 500 homes behind the 30,000 dwelling target and the hill gets steeper to climb. Most importantly, the initiative shows the Government is not waiting around for Parliament to agree the HAFF and instead will get on with the job of boosting housing supply now.

State and Territory Governments can now drive new builds in apartments, houses and modular homes, which gives Australia a baseline for innovating at-scale housing alternatives.

The initiative hits a home run on all the key UDIA National recommendations. It will deliver broader measures to boost housing supply across the spectrum, incentivise better planning laws, reforming zoning and freeing up more development ready land for new builds.

“Any planning reform however has to ensure it addresses the needs of the entire housing to market operate effectively or it will fall short and the problem only gets worse,” said Mr Shifman.

The affordability issues in urban and regional areas are largely the result of a chronic lack of development-ready land, not a lack of vacant space. This has simple causes – a lack of enabling infrastructure, zoning, integrated planning and approvals.

Even simple changes like setting housing targets and streamlining planning approvals for enabling infrastructure or construction are largely low-cost measures that result in real dollar upticks for productivity and housing supply.

UDIA National congratulates the Albanese Government for listening to industry and delivering an initiative that gets us moving on the right path to break the housing affordability crisis.

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Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane | National Media & Communications Manager | 0416 295 898 | media@udia.com.au