Government Takes Further Action on Housing Affordability
The Rudd Government today unveiled the next step in its commitment to tackle housing affordability with the release of the technical paper for the Housing Affordability Fund.
The $512 million Housing Affordability Fund aims to lower the cost of building new homes by tackling the critical supply side issues of the length of time taken to bring new houses to sale and the impact of infrastructure charges.
Through the HAF, the Government wants to create an incentive for projects that will make housing more affordable.
The Fund aims to make housing more affordable by addressing two significant supply-side barriers to housing development:
- Holding costs incurred by developers as a result of long planning and approval waiting times; and
- Infrastructure costs, such as water, sewerage, transport, and open space.
Investment will be targeted to areas that with high demand for new housing and can be used for both green-field and in-fill developments.
The fund will be distributed by direct grants, primarily to local governments, local government associations and State or Territory Governments, through a competitive selection process.
Proposals will be assessed against transparent, needs-based selection criteria and will have to demonstrate that cost savings are passed on to new home buyers.
Many Australians are having trouble finding affordable housing and they are using a growing proportion of their income to keep it.
One of the major reasons for the decline in housing affordability is the lack of supply, with an insufficient number of houses being built in recent years to satisfy demand.
The expected number of new dwellings, or housing starts, for 2007-08 is just 154,000. This is well below the 170,000 housing starts recorded in both 2002-03 and 2003-04.
It is also well below industry estimates that we need to build at least 170,000 new dwellings in 2007-08 alone just to keep up with the housing needs of a growing population.
The Government invites submissions from State, Territory and local governments, industry and other stakeholders to ensure that we get this policy right.
The HAF is a part of the Australian Government’s comprehensive approach to tackling housing affordability, which also includes the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), National Housing Supply Council, and an audit of surplus Commonwealth land that can be made available for new housing.
Up to $30 million from the HAF is being used to develop IT infrastructure and software to roll out nationally, electronic development assessment systems and online tracking services to reduce red tape and streamline planning approvals.