Stamp duty criticised by roundtable

103Australia’s housing affordability issue continues to lead to chatter in cities such as Sydney, which saw a 1.5 per cent population increase between the third quarters of 2012 and 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Along with an ever-increasing population, the ability to open up new land for dwellings and meet domestic and foreign investment demand has led industry heavyweights to continuously raise the issue.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) held a roundtable discussion on housing affordability, releasing a statement on March 26.

Shared goals to drive ahead

The ability to access affordable housing is a goal shared by community sectors as well as the government, according to the REIA.

An impressive line-up of speakers enabled the industry body to canvas a wide variety of opinion. From REIA President Peter Bushby to Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews and Mortgage and Finance Association Chief Executive Phil Naylor, key industry representatives were present, from community sectors to the construction and lending industries.

“As industry leaders, we acknowledge affordable housing is a complex issue, with a number of economic, social and infrastructure factors influencing the issue,” noted the REIA.

These factors included demographic change, the impact of stamp duty, a insufficient supply of rentals as well as properties for purchase and the deposit gap facing first home buyers.

The undersupply of housing was announced as a “priority policy issue”.

Stamp duty was outlined as a problem for the country, given its tendency to diminish housing turnover. A side effect of this is the inhibition of employment mobility.

“Stamp duties act as a disincentive for the ageing population to downsize. These distortions lead to sub-optimal outcomes and reduced investment in the property market.”

Meaningful action is being demanded by representatives from the REIA, the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia, Genworth, Adelaide Bank and the Australian Institute of Building.

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