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Opposition presents alternative housing affordability plan

Opposition presents alternative housing affordability plan

The Federal Opposition has presented an alternative solution to the housing affordability crisis, detailing a plan to crack down on self-managed superannuation funds as well as imposing higher fees and penalties on foreign property investors.

Ahead of next month’s Federal Budget, which will reportedly include a Coalition plan to combat housing affordability problems, Labor has put forward a plan to attempt to gain a foothold in the house prices agenda.

The Opposition plan calls for severely limiting the ability of self-managed superannuation funds to borrow money and imposing higher taxes, fees and potential penalties for foreign property investors as opposed to domestic buyers.

A uniform tax across major cities on investors to deter them from leaving purchased properties empty or unoccupied has also been discussed, although this will still be a state-based tax as it has already been introduced in Victoria.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen pointed to the rapidly changing trends towards large-scale borrowing and foreign investment as problems that needed resolving in the battle for affordable housing.

“This has been growing exponentially. There was $2.5 billion in borrowing in 2012 — it’s now $24 billion today. And this is the only recommendation in the Murray Report which the Government has explicitly rejected and really that is just negligent,” said Mr Bowen.

“The total of foreign investment in Australian real estate is still comparatively small, but it’s growing at a rapid rate. So together again with surcharges and stamp duty that most states have put on, this could play a role in sending the property market a signal.”

Bowen also confirmed that Labor and the Coalition have a unity ticket agreement on implementing a bond aggregator to encourage affordable property investment from inside Australia.

“We’re just confirming that if they don’t do it, a Labor government will do it,” he said.

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