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The federal government’s Housing Accord, which promises to build 1 million “well-located” homes by the end of the decade, will only provide 184 affordable homes, according to a new analysis from the Parliamentary Library.
The analysis, which was commissioned by the Greens, used market rents from data analytics firm Corelogic and measured affordability by comparing wage data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics with the widely accepted definition 30:40 affordability, which suggests that if you’re in the bottom 40% of income, you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on rent.
The results, based on the assumption that the houses built would be located in metropolitan areas and are distributed in line with current trends, show that all affordable houses built under the agreement would be located in Greater Darwin, Territory North.
Greens MP and housing and homelessness spokesman Max Chandler-Mather said the analysis proves the government’s housing deal is “a complete rip-off”.
“You don’t solve the housing crisis by offering incentives and tax breaks to property developers to build the same number of luxury homes that they have built in the last five years, you solve it by building public and community housing,” Chandler-Mather said.
“When you consider the fact that the Stage 3 tax cuts and the negative gearing and the capital gains tax cuts will cost the federal budget $411 billion over the next 10 years, while Labor has only committed $10 billion to social housing, it’s pretty clear where Labor’s priorities actually lie.
The national housing deal was announced as part of the Albanian government’s first federal budget in late October, bringing together a $350 million commitment from the federal government to fund the construction of 10,000 “affordable” homes over five years, to beginning in 2024, with another 10,000 homes to be built by state and territory governments.
In addition to funding, the government said the deal would require state and territory governments to speed up zoning, planning and land release – major speed bumps for new developments – to “improve the availability of social and affordable housing in well-located areas”.
The theory is that rents should come down if the government can increase supply, and housing stress should also ease. But the government would not pay for it, or at least not all of it.
At its core, the policy offers more to the real estate sector than to the households to which it was offered.
To build the remaining homes not accounted for by the various government pledges, the federal government has put in place funding options through the Housing Australia Future Fund to try and secure superannuation funds and other investors. massive institutional funds to pay for the construction of these houses.
To further sweeten the deal, the government has offered them an income stream that covers the difference between market rents and the subsidized rents they will, at least in theory, offer to low-income families.
In other words: this is a handshake agreement between the market and all levels of government to advance supply to the tune of 200,000 homes per year, with no guarantees on the amount of l private investment that will come, or if it will come.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers also wasn’t shy about dealing with the uncertainty. Announcing the policy late last month, he said“The Accord recognizes that the bulk of this supply must come from the market, with government playing a key role in activating and kick-starting investments.”
As investors gather at a roundtable to discuss funding for the plan later this week, the future of much-needed public, community and affordable housing hangs in the balance – and demand continues to soar. .
Earlier this week, the UNSW City Futures research center published new research commissioned by the Community Housing Industry Association which showed the 640,000 households that reported housing stress in last year’s census are expected to rise to 940,000 by 2041.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the waiting list for those seeking social housing rose by 8,000 households last year, from 155,141 to 163,508, while latest figures available from the 2016 census counted more than 116,000 Australians as homeless.
After the deal was announced, Chandler-Mather said the private sector had already built just under a million homes in the past five years, “so Labor announced that according to their plans, the sector private would build [another] 1 million homes over five years from 2024 is a complete joke.
“The ‘housing deal’ looks like a complete scam. Planning for deregulation and helping the private sector build housing will not solve the housing crisis, nor will any tax relief or planning for deregulation in the past,” he said.
“In reality, the only extra thing announced by the Labor Party is $350 million for 10,000 so-called affordable homes over five years, everything else is smoke and mirrors.”
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