SINCE 1997

Housing estate graduate Albanese spells out property policies

It is the Labor Party that has assumed office and it is their policies that will shape the Australian housing landscape in the coming four years.

Facade of an apartment block in Sydney, Australia, with roof gardens.

Labor’s victory in 2022 federal election, albeit in the face of historic gains by independent candidates and the Greens, clears the path for Anthony Albanese and his Australian Labor Party (ALP) to implement a raft of housing policies outlined in the lead-up to the federal election.

Federal housing minister Jason Clare confronts a momentous task in the face of rising interest rates, a massive undersupply of housing and a property market that has arguably peaked after a decade of runaway growth.

Mission Australia estimates that 614,000 social dwellings and 277,000 affordable dwellings worth $290 billion will be needed in the next 20 years.

Addressing the lack of affordable housing in Australia was one of the pivotal issues in the lead-up to the election.

In a campaign often derided as lacking in progressive ideas and differences between the two major parties, housing was a battleground that attracted much attention by virtue of the different approaches outlined by the ALP and Coalition.

Both major parties have been criticised for neglecting to address the issue of a lack of supply of new housing stock.

But it is the Labor Party that will assume office and it is their policies that will shape the Australian housing landscape in the coming four years.

Housing is an issue central to Mr Albanese’s political persona.

He has built much of his public image around his background as a child of Sydney’s inner west housing estates.

As he had repeated throughout the campaign, he drove the point home during his victory speech.

“I hope there are families in public housing watching this tonight because I want every parent to be able to tell their child that no matter where you live or where you come from, in Australia the doors of opportunity are open to us all.

"And like every other Labor government, we'll just widen that door a bit more.”

These are the policies that the Anthony Albanese government will employ in its attempt to open those doors.

Housing Australia Future Fund

Tens of thousands of social and affordable housing properties would be built as part of a $10 billion housing future fund promised by Labor when in opposition.

The Housing Australia Future Fund is set to deliver 30,000 social and affordable housing properties in its first five years.

Four thousand of the homes would be allocated to women and children escaping family and domestic violence and to older women at risk of homelessness.

Help to Buy

The centrepiece of Labor’s housing policy election campaign was a program in which the government would effectively become a shareholding partner with first-home buyers.

Its Help to Buy scheme involves the Labor government providing eligible home buyers with an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home and up to 30 per cent of the purchase price for an existing home.

Buyers will be able to purchase a property that they intend to live in with a deposit of as little as 2 per cent. Participating lenders finance the remainder of the purchase.

During the period of the loan, the home buyer is able to buy an additional stake in the property when they have the means to do so. Before that point, they will not have to pay rent for the portion of the home owned by the government. The government would recover its equity and its share of the capital gain when the house is sold.

Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme

Labor’s Regional First Home Buyer Support Scheme is intended to help 10,000 first-home buyers a year in regional Australia buy a home and is expected to be implemented in January 2023. 

The program would provide a government guarantee of up to 15 per cent for eligible first-home buyers, so locals with a 5 per cent deposit can avoid paying mortgage insurance – saving up to $32,000. 

It would be available to locals with a taxable income of up to $125,000 per year for singles and $200,000 a year for couples.

National Housing Supply and Affordability Council 

Following calls from housing advocates across the country, Mr Albanese pledged to establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council to tackle housing supply and homelessness.

The Council will reportedly be composed of experts from the finance, economics, urban development, residential construction, urban planning and social housing sectors. 

The Council will work closely with states and territories on setting targets for land supply, in consultation with states and territories.

Housing Australia Future Fund

Labor has promised to create a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, with the returns on investment being used to build 30,000 new social and affordable houses, some of which will be allocated to frontline workers and women fleeing domestic violence.

Its stated aim is to provide 20,000 social housing properties – 4,000 of which will be allocated for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness.

Another 10,000 affordable homes are earmarked for the frontline workers like police, nurses and cleaners who kept us safe during the pandemic. This would mean they could live closer to where they work.

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