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Gov't must act on housing affordability, building

By Steven Cross
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Laing+Simmons has joined industry groups calling for urgent reform on housing supply and affordability in NSW.

Leanne Pilkington, general manager at Laing+Simmons, said the NSW state government needs to genuinely commit to stamp duty reform and providing support to boost affordability.

“The affordability and supply issues experienced by the market in recent years are no closer to being solved, and the changes to planning and development in this state recently proposed seem insufficient to effect real change,” Ms Pilkington said.

“If the NSW government is serious about making housing more affordable in this state, then the buck stops with stamp duty," she said.

“The application of stamp duty in New South Wales is overly complicated and excessive, and continues to stymie the market,” Ms Pilkington said.

“Failing its complete abolition, it’s clear this tax needs reconsideration to more closely align it with the more reasonable frameworks operating in other states.

Her comments are consistent with what Housing Institute of Australia’s (HIA) senior economist Harley Dale wants to see.

“It is vital to see evidence of a broad-based recovery in building approvals and that is simply not the case at present,” said Mr Dale.

“That situation makes the case for government investment in new housing and reform of the excessive and inefficient levels of taxation on the sector all the more compelling.”

Ms Pilkington agreed that reform will help the declining affordability of housing.

“Affordability remains a significant barrier for many looking to enter the property market and the banks must accept their fair share of the blame,” Ms Pilkington said.

She suggested the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) be given greater power to force banks to lower interest rates in line with cash rate movements.

“It is worrying to see the banks publically distance themselves from the RBA’s guidance and it calls into question the central bank’s influence,” she said.

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