NRAS reinstated

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Real estate and housing industry members have welcomed the federal government’s decision to reinstate the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

The scheme was flagged for funding cuts in January as part of the government’s plans to fund the $5.6 billion Queensland rebuild.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard confirmed the scheme, which offers incentives to investors and developers to develop affordable rental housing, would be reinstated.

Ms Gillard said on Friday that the scheme would be capped at 35,000 homes in the years up to 2014-15, consistent with current industry tracking.

“Over a longer timeframe, the scheme will continue to operate to deliver at least the 50,000 homes provisioned for under the original program.”

REIA president David Airey welcomed the announcement.

“The Government has made an accurate assessment and listened to the advice from industry in making this considered decision regarding the NRAS,” he continued.

Even before the current flood disasters, the Housing Supply Council forecasted the demand-supply gap increasing by more than 50 per cent, from just over 200,000 dwellings in 2010 to over 300,000 by 2014, Mr Airey said.

“One of the greatest needs following the floods will be affordable housing - the longer-term goals of the NRAS may now have the opportunity to be realised,” Mr Airey said.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) also welcomed the announcement.

"At a time when we are facing national housing shortages of 20,000 homes a year, it's crucial that we boost, rather than cut back investment in affordable housing," commented HIA chief David Wolfe.

"NRAS is a supply-driven policy that the HIA has long supported, and we are keen to see it continue in its original form."

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