UDIA National, Housing and Homelessness Agreement Review (NHHA) Submission
The NHHA is a critical piece of inter-government collaboration to ensure Australians can access affordable, safe and sustainable housing across the spectrum.
As the Australian economy recovers post pandemic, the new NHHA must incentivise and coordinate delivery and access to housing across the spectrum from homelessness, affordable/social housing, through to at-market rental and home ownership.
In a complex, interconnected system like housing, unresolved problems have cascading effects across the housing spectrum. For example, shortages of suitable land to deliver new dwellings, drives up prices and ordinary Australians are forced to rent for longer at higher rates, inevitably pushing others into social and affordable housing. And on it goes.
Access to housing is impacted by a myriad of factors. With limited funds, it is critical for Governments to target factors that touch as many aspects of the housing spectrum as possible for the greatest impact.
The common thread impacting across the entire housing spectrum is the imbalance of supply and demand, which ultimately feeds into housing affordability. Balancing supply and demand across the housing spectrum will have the greatest impact on access to housing. The solutions touch all core concerns of the NHHA and provides cumulative benefits by reducing pressure on government social programs.
Critically, the robust strategy pursued by the Federal Government over the past two years, which sustained Australia’s economy through the COVID-19 pandemic, included construction as an economic driver and job creator. It positioned the nation for a strong post-pandemic recovery.
Both population growth, (to underpin employment), and property development & construction, will be vital elements for economic recovery. Development & construction is an engine room of the economy and critical to boosting productivity, delivering some 9% of Australia’s GDP. They are also key factors for access to housing and a focal point for issues impacting the success of the NHHA.
Historically thin and declining supply pipelines, together with pandemic-driven material and labour shortages means that Australia is set to experience further deterioration in housing affordability as Australia recovers, unless we can stimulate supply across the housing spectrum to meet that demand.
Already, much of Australia is experiencing an unchecked housing affordability crisis. Our own State of the Land Report 2022, confirms critically low housing supply in key cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne is restricting housing delivery and holding back families from finding a home. This is evidence enough that the NHHA needs to be recalibrated to better deal with a post-pandemic economy.
Solving these issues requires strategies and multi-faceted solutions that address problems across the housing spectrum. Nothing short of a nationwide housing strategy can achieve this aim.
The NHHA is critical to the future prosperity for Australians. UDIA National is recommending clear and implementable policy solutions for the Federal Government to lead a nationwide housing strategy to incentivise step change solutions that:
1. Drive change across Government – development of land/housing supply targets across the spectrum, metrics that create meaningful solutions for key problems and incentivise change.
2. Deliver Durable Strategic Planning and Infrastructure – measures that give National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) a mandate to monitor the housing market and the performance of Governments under the NHHA.
3. Deliver Core Infrastructure – measures that unlock enabling infrastructure to free up supply across the housing spectrum.
4. Unlock new housing across the spectrum – measures for a permanent annual allocation of 15,000 places for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme matched by State/Territory Government schemes to drive growth.
5. Prioritise Affordable Housing – measures to incentivise outcomes for affordable housing including securing ongoing funding from existing Federal, State and Territory tax bases.
6. Strip away taxes holding back affordability – measures for all governments to facilitate a broad-based reform of inefficient taxes to drive economic growth, productivity and improved housing affordability.
7. Streamline Environmental Approvals – measures to improve the administration and effectiveness the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).
8. Make Planning Systems Work Effectively – develop better strategic planning, land use, integrated approvals and housing supply outcomes.
UDIA looks forward to working with the Government to build Australia’s economic recovery.