Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Mike Zorbas today appeared before the Senate Committee on Housing Affordability in Australia, advocating the passage of the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and the creation of a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council to address the worsening housing crisis.
“Federal government action on housing, including the Housing Accord, will only meet its aims if we address the growing national deficit of properly zoned land for housing,” Mr Zorbas told the committee.
“By the government's own conservative numbers, we are more than 160,000 homes behind the national starting line over the next decade.
“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,” he said.
Mr Zorbas said Australia will fail to meaningfully address the housing gap until we unlock a level investment playing field for build-to-rent (BTR) housing, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and retirement living communities.
“Currently there is a 30 per cent 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,” Mr Zorbas said.
“A 15 per cent 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,” he said.
Mr Zorbas said the HAFF and Supply Council should be passed swiftly to build on the good research and housing initiatives of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.
“We strongly support the proposed National Housing Supply and Affordability Council. 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,” Mr Zorbas said.