Tax and legal advice

Abolish negative gearing to address housing affordability: Grattan

By Lucy Dean
housing affordability, negative gearing

The current crisis of housing affordability has been the result of the actions of “neglectful” governments in the last 20 years, and it has been predicted that it could be solved, in part, by removing negative gearing, according to the Grattan Institute.

John Daley, chief executive of the Grattan Institute, said on Sunday that it has taken “neglectful governments” two decades to establish, what he considers, the “current housing affordability mess”.

Pointing to a high capital gains tax discount, negative gearing and a limited age pension assets test as problem areas, Mr Daley said that if states were unwilling or unable to reform their planning systems, the next step would be to consider pulling back on Australia’s migrant intake.

Mr Daley said that the Commonwealth governments have for 20 years preferred to make the easy choices that “merely appear to address the problem”.

“The politics of reform are fraught because most voters own a home or an investment property, and mistrust any change that might dent the price of their assets,” the CEO said.

“But if governments keep pretending there are easy answers, housing affordability will just get worse. Older people will not be able to downsize in the suburb where they live, and our children won’t be able to buy their own home.”

What do they propose?

In its latest report, Grattan Institute researchers Mr Daley, Brendan Coates and Trent Wiltshire argued that by building an extra 50,000 homes a year for a decade, Australian house prices would be 5 per cent to 20 per cent lower than they otherwise would be.

“Affordability will only get a lot better if governments ensure more homes are built. State governments should fix planning rules to allow more homes to be built in inner and middle-ring suburbs of our largest cities,” Mr Daley said.

“More small-scale urban infill projects should be allowed without council planning approval. State governments should also allow denser development ‘as of right’ along key transport corridors.”

In addition to supply-side levers, the Grattan researchers argued that by reducing the capital gains tax discount to 25 per cent, abolishing negative gearing and including owner-occupied housing in the age pension assets test, demand would also be reduced.

In terms of negative gearing, they suggested that wage and salary income be quarantined so that investment losses can only be written off against income from other investments.

Broader state land taxes, which included owner-occupied housing or an additional uniform $2 levy for every $1,000 of unimproved land value for owner-occupied housing, were also touted as potential demand-side levers.

Further, the government should formulate an “explicit population policy”.

The researchers said: “Develop a population policy, which articulates the appropriate level of migration, given evidence of the impact of migration on the wellbeing of the Australian community, accounting for both actual and optimal infrastructure and land use planning policies.

“If planning and infrastructure policies do not improve, consider reducing Australia’s current migrant intake.”

This proposal follows weeks of debate around Australia’s migration policy.

On the supply side, Grattan said that state governments should set targets for local government areas and use “carrots and sticks” to make sure local councils actually meet them.

Continuing, they argued that by making renting and higher-density living more attractive, supply-side pressures would be alleviated.

“All levels of government should build the public case for increased density. State and local governments should change planning processes to allow more medium-density housing in established suburbs that are close to jobs and transport,” the researchers said.

Downsizing, first home buyer incentives bad ideas

The researchers called out the policy of pushing jobs or people to regional areas in “the name of housing affordability” as a bad policy, which it doesn’t recommend.

Further, shared equity schemes, financial incentives to encourage downsizing for seniors and additional stamp duty concessions for first home buyers were also listed as poor policy ideas.

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podcast

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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

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If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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As the investment market tightens are you looking to learn something that will help you realign or readjust your property goals? In this episode of The Smart Property Investment Show, first time on the podcast Lisa Porter joins host Phil Tarrant to talk about the gems and wisdom associated with her modest portfolio of ‘only’ six properties.

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Listen now as Lisa and host Phil Tarrant discuss how her property journey started in the UK, with the purchase of a rough unit in a lower-socio suburb of South London. Lisa breaks down how that first purchase provided her greatest lesson, one she still applies today - turn off the noise, don’t worry too much about the peripheries and just get on with it.

The pair also discuss how property has given Lisa so much extra value in her life, not just building an asset base and heaps of enjoyment, but it also how it changed the trajectory of her career. Women, she says, shouldn’t be fearful of being proactive and taking control of the direction of their family’s financial future.  

 

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Walking and talking property investment with Lisa Porter – therapy, empowerment, education and inspiration

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