First step on path to 1.2 million homes

Aerial view of housing. | Newsreel
Australia's housing system needs policymakers to address both supply and demand challenges. | Photo: George Clerk (iStock)

A five-year journey to build 1.2 million new homes through a $32 billion national program begins today.

The National Housing Accord, agreed to by all Federal, State and Territory governments, aims to address the current housing shortage, through a range of incentives and investments.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Mike Zorbas said ABS data showed only 963,064 homes were completed over the last five years and a concerted effort was needed across all facets of the industry. This included homes to sell and rent, retirement living and purpose-built student communities and social housing.

Mr Zorbas said Australia was land rich, but government taxes on housing, slow planning systems, high borrowing and materials costs and dire skill shortages impacted housing supply.

“Led by the federal government, we are finally starting a coordinated national and state planning effort after decades of neglect,” he said.

Mr Zorbas said the country needed to move from building 170,000 homes a year now to the high 200,000s, in order to average 240,000 over the five years.

Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness Julie Collins said the goal to build 1.2 million “new, well-located” homes was at the centre of a $32 billion plan.

“We know this is a challenge, but it’s a challenge we have to meet,” Minister Collins said.

“We need to build more homes, more quickly, in more parts of the country.”

Minister Collins said the Federal Government had provided $3 billion to states and territories to help meet this target.

“This will incentivise states and territories to undertake the reforms necessary to boost housing supply and improve housing affordability.”

She said other significant housing reforms that started this financial year included the $9.3 billion five-year National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness to combat homelessness, provide crisis support and build and repair social housing.

“This new agreement includes a doubling of Commonwealth funding for homelessness, which state and territory governments must match,” she said.

Minister Collins said funding from the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund would begin to flow and, in its first five years, support 30,000 social and affordable rental homes.

She said 50,000 new places were now available under the Home Guarantee Scheme, made up of 35,000 in the First Home Guarantee, 10,000 in the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee and 5000 in the Family Home Guarantee.