Oceania: Property Council boss addresses Senate Committee on Housing Affordability

The Property Council has called for the passage of the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and the creation of a National Housing and Affordability Council to address the worsening housing crisis.

Speaking before the Senate Committee on Housing Affordability in Australia, Property Council of Australia CEO Mike Zorbas (pictured above) urged the federal government to address the growing national deficit of properly zoned land for housing.

“By the government’s own conservative numbers, we are more than 160,000 homes behind the national starting line over the next decade,” Zorbas said. “The slowness and costliness of state planning systems in producing new homes, and property assets of any kind, adds significantly to the upwards cost pressure on housing across the spectrum – whether to-buy, or to-rent, or key worker or social housing.”

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The industry leader highlighted the need to unlock a level investment playing field for build-to-rent (BTR) housing, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), and retirement living communities, to meaningfully address the housing deficit.

“Currently there is a 30% Australian government withholding tax rate on overseas investment by pension, and public and private funds in build-to-rent housing, double the rate of tax on other property types like offices and logistics assets,” Zorbas said. “A 15% managed investment trust (MIT) withholding tax rate would be comparable with the rate paid by our domestic superfunds who invest in US, UK, and Canadian real estate markets.”

Zorbas has expressed strong support for the quick passage of HAFF and the Supply Council, to build on the good research and housing initiatives of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.

“The council should have an independent research capacity and be empowered to initiate an annual housing scorecard and incentive framework to improve planning and housing targets and delivery for each state and territory,” he said.

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