We need a bigger cake

6 February 2024

"Rather than pointing the finger at one sector of the property market we need to look at the broader issue, which is supply."

Short-stay accommodation is in the spotlight again, specifically the number of owners who have taken up the State Government’s $10,000 incentive to make the switch to the long-term rental market.

Understandably, only a fairly small number of owners have applied so far. This was expected and as we said at the time of the launch of the program, if it puts a roof over one family’s head, that’s a positive.

However, the figures have reignited the debate about short-stay being the solution to the rental crisis.

We’ve made it clear before that targeting short-stay owners is not a silver bullet for the rental crisis.

Rather than pointing the finger at one sector of the property market we need to look at the broader issue, which is supply.

Instead of arguing about how to divide the cake we have, what we need is a bigger cake.

The established homes market has a finite supply of homes, to solve the problems we are facing we need to build more dwellings. We also need to provide affordable and diverse options, including houses, villas, duplexes, townhouses and units. And we need more social housing for the more vulnerable in our society.

While there’s a tendency to blame one segment of the property market when things are tight – whether it’s short-stay property owners, landlords, Eastern States investors, Boomers etc., there’s also a tendency to blame the government.

The supply issue has been a long time in the making, and you could say it’s the ‘fault’ of several governments, however current Housing Minister John Carey has a good grasp of the situation and I acknowledge the Cook Government and the work they’re doing in this space.

Some of the measures they’re implementing include:

  • A specialist Housing Supply Unit to improve market forecasting and help prevent a repeat of this situation.
  • Investing in training and support for apprentices and the attraction of skilled trades.
  • A Builders Support Facility to help builders complete homes that have been under construction for more than two years.
  • An $80 million Infrastructure development fund to support development.
  • Transfer duty reforms to boost investment in the apartment market.
  • A commitment to build 4,000 new social dwellings and refurbish thousands more.
  • Planning reforms to accelerate housing delivery.
  • Investing in build to rent projects.
  • Identifying and releasing more land.

There has also been rent relief for eligible tenants at risk of eviction and land tax relief for home owners affected by construction delays. Plus, they delayed the implementation of the Medium Density Housing code, recognising the impact additional regulatory reform would have on the provision of affordable housing.

A long-term problem cannot be solved quickly – expecting the government to wave a magic wand and sort it all out in two years is unreasonable. They are doing what they can.

Joe White
REIWA President

You may be interested in