New REIA board to focus on rental crisis
Three new faces have joined the REIA Board, with an avowed focus on tackling issues fuelling the national rental crisis and housing supply shortages.
The national peak body for the real estate profession in Australia has unveiled its officeholders and board for 2023, with three new faces joining Hayden Groves, who stays on at the helm of the organisation.
The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) announced the refreshed line-up after its annual general meeting and stressed that housing supply shortages and the resultant rental crisis would be their primary focus.
Among the new faces on the board are Cain Cooke from the Real Estate Institute of South Australia, Hannah Gill from the Real Estate Institute of the ACT, and Carol Need from the Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory.
They join Andrew Bell OAM (additional director), Damian Collins (Real Estate Institute of Western Australia), Ray Ellis (additional director), Adrian Kelly (Real Estate Institute of Tasmania), Leanne Pilkington (Real Estate Institute of NSW and REIA Deputy President) and Richard Simpson (Real Estate Institute of Victoria and REIA Finance, Risk and Audit Committee Chair).
Speaking about the year ahead and the renewed leadership of the REIA Board, Mr Groves said a focus would be on addressing the serious ramifications of a shortage of housing supply.
“As property markets around Australia continue to suffer supply constraints, the REIA’s Board is looking forward to exploring policies that help more Australians into affordable homes.
“Availability of affordable rental properties will be a major challenge as the year unfolds and property investors need further encouragement to inject much needed supply to the market, which is why stamp duty reform remains an REIA priority,” Mr Groves on Tuesday (25 January).
He added that if no supply is added to ease the market the situation will worsen.
Rent burden too much for many
The Anglicare Australia report, Reforming Rent Assistance, backs REIA’s own research showing the need to improve Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA).
The average median rent for three-bedroom houses in the eight capital cities increased 41.4 per cent to $506 per week in the past two decades. The median rent for three-bedroom houses increased in all capital cities ranging from 30.6 per cent in Melbourne to 84.0 per cent in Hobart.
Since 2002, the weighted average median rent for two-bedroom other dwellings increased 39.3 per cent to $474 per week. The median rent increased in all capital cities over the past 20 years ranging from 26.1 per cent in Sydney to 90.9 per cent in Hobart.
“The stark contrast to this is that the weighted average Australian weekly rent in 2002, CRA covered 24.4 per cent of weekly rental payments, however, by 2022 only covered 16.9 per cent,” Mr Groves pointed out.
“In 2002, rent assistance was 30.9 per cent of the real median weekly rent for Perth and 21.3 per cent of the median rent for Canberra.
“This means that despite large rent increases, payments range from a maximum of $48.60 per week for a single sharer to $96.81 per week for a family with three or more dependent children.”
Mr Groves said one reason for CRA not keeping pace with rent increases is that it is indexed to the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) (all goods and services) rather than to the rental component of the CPI.
“It would be better if CRA was reviewed annually and paired with a better indicator of rental movements within state and territory rental markets.”
In 2021-22, the Federal Government spent $4.9 billion on rent assistance payments. Expenditure on the payment has almost quadrupled since it was introduced, up from $1.4 billion in 1993-94.
“The enormous expansion of the payment is important, as part of the justification for moving to demand-side assistance was to reduce the cost to Government in delivering housing.
“Despite this increase, the amount of support provided to households has decreased.”
Mr Groves said creating more supply for low-income households, particularly more social housing supply would be the answer to ease the burden.
“We’re urging the governments to address this issue as a matter of urgency and hope the Interim Supply Council takes these issues as seriously to assist the millions of renters affected Australia-wide.”
Founded in 1924, the REIA is a politically non-aligned organisation that provides research and well-informed advice to the Federal Government, Opposition, professional members of the real estate sector, media and the public on a range of issues affecting the property market. It represents the real estate sector on a range of varied and important issues.
In another industry move, the Property Council of Australia on Wednesday (25 January) announced the appointment of Mike Zorbas as the new Chief Executive of the organisation.
Mr Zorbas, who is currently the Property Council’s Group Executive Policy and Advocacy, becomes is the fifth CEO in the 54 year history of the organisation, which represents all parts of the industry nationally and in every state and territory.
Mr Zorbas has jointly acted in the Chief Executive role since December. He previously served as Group Head of Government, Media and Industry Affairs at Lendlease Australia, Group Head of Strategy and Corporate Communications at Grocon and General Manager of Government Relations at Stockland, roles in which he engaged governments around the country.
Before these roles Mr Zorbas served as the Property Council’s Chief Advocate to the Australian Parliament.