After three traumatic years Australians are heading back to the polls to voice their opinion on who should manage the country at a Federal level.
Thanks to our democratic approach, we’ve had a fabulous six weeks of heavy duty campaigning from the full spectrum of electoral party colours.
Housing is a critical issue for us all, and has therefore been a major field of battle for all parties. Outlined below are the major parties’ key position points on housing for ease of reference as you consider your vote for this weekend.
In the yellow corner – party most likely to look ridiculous – United Australia Party
- Policies framed more to ‘dis-unite’ rather than unite Australians
- Home ownership listed as their number one policy straddles two key platforms
- Platform one = maximum 3% home loan interest rate for minimum of five years – no mention of percentage guarantee for investment purchases
- Platform two – make the first $30,000 paid on a home loan tax deductible each year – I like this idea but can’t imagine the dent on the deficit
- Missing – no plan to address homelessness, encourage rental affordability or increase rental supply.
- High marks for irritating the majority of voters with the biggest ad spend.
In the green corner – party with great ideas that are almost impossible to land – The Greens
- Policies with the left of centre in mind = want to increase the burden on big corporates and increase support for younger Australians as well as those doing it tough financially
- 15 key policy avenues including housing – no priority for one particular policy as The Greens believe all policies are equally important (makes me smile to think about their commitment to the premise of their brand)
- Housing policy spread across four key platforms
- Platform one – build 1,000,000 affordable, accessible, high quality homes – um . . ‘affordable, accessible + high quality’ housing? Do they mean a couple of communes in each State? Great target, but sadly and unfortunately impossible.
- Platform two – for renters The Greens will build homes for $300,000 in places where renters want to live. I wonder what size these properties will be. And where . .the Botanic Gardens or Hyde Park? Perhaps my local soccer field?
- Platform three – end tax breaks that make it easier for investors to buy their fifth home – but . .do they know 96% of ‘property investors’ rarely own more than one extra property? So, you can buy up to four but not five? And what happens if you turn the first four into 20 properties that actually increase the supply of rental properties?
- Platform four – ensure national renters’ rights and implement European style long term leases – so landlords have less control over their property causing them to withdraw from the market, and driving rents up? Oh yes . . hidden within the plan is rent control, so property owners cannot increase their rents as costs increase. Sounds attractive.
- High marks for creative and wishful thinking. Homelessness and increasing the supply of affordable rentals is critical, but there’s plenty of better ways to achieve this starting with limiting the price gouging from local councils.
In the green and gold ‘area’ – party often overlooked in the cities – The Nationals
- Policies with focus on the requirements of regional Australia
- 32 ‘plans’ covering critical issues relating to primary industries
- Housing policy mostly lines up under the Liberal Party policies (discussed below) – housing affordability has now become yet another key cause for concern in regional areas . . .as if they didn’t have enough to worry about – now locals are struggling to find affordable accommodation.
- High marks for doing the really tough tasks to keep the country fed, but a side swipe for dragging their feet on the issue of the environment.
Hope you’re still reading . . .now for a quick trip across the two main parties.
In the red corner – party that can’t shake Union influences – the Australian Labor Party
- Policies with a focus on ‘the workers’ though in 2022 there is a heavier emphasis on ‘female’ workers (nurses, teachers, aged care) rather than the old ‘blue collar’ workers (miners, tradies, builders) as these groups are all making so much money now they have migrated to the Liberal party.
- 30 main policies including safer and more affordable housing.
- Housing policy consists of five key components
- One – Housing Australia Future Fund – a $10 billion fund which will build 30,000 new properties in its first five years . . . well now Labor is sounding like they’re the exact opposite of The Greens with the miniscule amount of properties planned for construction . .but at least Labor has some idea of costings.
- Two – Restoring funding for homelands and improving remote housing – $100 million for housing and essential services in the Northern Territory . . .definitely needed, so I say ‘get to it’ on this.
- Three – National Housing Supply and Affordability Council – proposes the establishment of an organisation to address supply and affordability . . .BUT . .isn’t that the same job NHFIC does? NHFIC was established by the Liberal government in 2019 and has been the force behind first time buyer and homelessness schemes implemented in the past few years. So will NHFIC be wiped out and a new Council ‘established’ to do the same thing or just add another layer of bureaucracy? Hello waste of money.
- Four and Five – Help to buy and the Regional first home buyer support scheme – a bit misleading as both ‘schemes’ are listed as helping 10,000 Australians . .so not clear whether it will be 20,000 in total but guessing it will only be 10,000. This is the policy getting slammed for having the government in buyers’ pockets as Labor proposes owning 40% of buyers homes. It will push prices up and will be messy at the back end when buyers want to sell up.
In the blue corner – party holding on to power by their fingertips – the Liberal Party of Australia
- Policies with a focus on the economy, whilst tip-toeing across key issues such as the environment
- 33 main policies including – strangely – a policy for the Central Coast (why?) along with a policy for housing and home ownership.
- Housing policy consists of eight key strategies.
- One – establish the Super Home Buyer Scheme – announced over the weekend and the scheme causing the meltdown in the Super industry as it will allow buyers to access up to $40,000 from their super to be used as a deposit on a first home purchase.
- Two – allow Australians over 55 years of age to add up to $300,000 to Super after the sale of their primary residence – this scheme might actually free up properties in cities, but will decrease availability in ‘retirement’ locations like Tasmania and the Sunshine Coast of Qld.
- Three – double the assets test exemption providing more flexibility for pensioners when they downsize – will take a little pressure off those over 55s selling up in the cities (see point two above).
- Four and Five – increase the number of low-deposit guarantees for first time buyers from 20,000 (at present) to 35,000 – allows first time buyers to purchase with 5% deposit AND increase the purchase price caps = totally inflames purchase prices as the entry level of the market and is basically putting the cash into developers pockets unless buyers are really smart and purchase existing properties rather than new builds.
- Six – increase the supply of new homes in regional areas by providing 10,000 low deposit guarantees for first time buyers purchasing new builds in regional areas – actually rips off the poor first time buyers but is a massive win for builders, developers and hard core property marketers.
- Seven – increase single parent home ownership through the provision of deposit guarantees as low as 2% – this is limited to 5,000 parents per year so is just a drop in the ocean of need but a good step in the right direction towards relieving the burden on rental supply.
- Eight – increase investment into affordable housing to $5.5 billion – this will cover the maintenance of an ‘unclear’ number of existing dwellings and the construction of 27,500 new dwellings per year.
So . . .if you’re still here and awake . . I wonder who you will vote for. No matter what happens one thing is for sure . . .we’ll all deal with the outcome together.
When we know the outcome, let me know if you want to discuss the property steps you might need to take.
About the author
Debra Beck-Mewing is the Editor of the Property Portfolio Magazine and CEO of The Property Frontline. She has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing Australia-wide and has used a range of strategies to build her property portfolio including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is a skilled property strategist, and a master in sourcing properties that have multiple uses and multiple exit strategies. She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business. As a passionate advocate for increasing transparency in the property and wealth industries, Debra is a popular speaker on these topics. She is also an author, podcast host, and participates on numerous committees including the Property Owners’ Association.
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