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Why housing supply shouldn’t be the only policy tool politicians cling to

Peter Phibbs and Nicole Gurran write in The Conversation (14.2.17) that to tout new housing production as the only solution to rising house prices, without examining the question of demand, is an ineffective policy position.

'The most popular government policy at the moment for solving housing affordability continues to be increasing housing supply. After a visit to the UK to look at this very problem, Treasurer Scott Morrison said: "The issue here fundamentally is about supply."

'And it’s little wonder the government dwells so much on this argument. Rising house prices are very popular amongst Australian households, the majority of which are owners. And stamp duties on housing transactions are key sources of income for state governments. Our research found the default position for politicians is to sound concerned about housing affordability, but do nothing.

'The supply refrain has all the hallmarks of a good policy for a politician. Increasing housing supply - rather than reducing the tax breaks that stimulate excessive demand - is a popular policy with peak property groups. The Property Council has been saying the same thing for years, so the supply solution has come to sound like fact.'

Australia needs to reboot affordable housing funding, not scrap it

Chris Martin and Hal Pawson write in The Conversation (20.2.17): 'It should be no surprise that Australia’s social housing has been largely static for 20 years. Everything we know about the system tells us it is not funded to even cover the costs of its ongoing operation, let alone growth to meet the needs of an expanding population. Aside from a one-off boost under the 2009 federal economic stimulus plan, social housing has been on a starvation ration for decades.'

 

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