Housing affordability should top political agenda: real estate group

Politicians have been told that abolishing stamp duty is “the most obvious place to start” if they want to boost housing affordability.

Amid debate about the impact of overactive investors, foreign buyers and negative gearing, one real estate group says encouraging affordability and removing stamp duty should lead the political agenda.

Laing & Simmons general manager Leanne Pilkington said even though the Reserve Bank of Australia had made the right decision by keeping rates on hold earlier this week, more could be done to shape the housing market in 2015.

“Encouraging affordability and supporting serious first home buyers who are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get into the market should be at the top of the political agenda when it comes to housing,” Ms Pilkington said.

“Amid continued debate about the impact of investors and foreign buyers, as well as the future for negative gearing, affordability remains the pressing issue in the residential market and the RBA is playing the appropriate role on this score.

“Nevertheless there is more that could be done at a legislative level, with the abolition of stamp duty the most obvious place to start,” she said.

Ms Pilkington also said despite recent focus on the negatives, the property market is in good shape heading into next year.

“As is traditionally the case leading up to Christmas, with more stock on the market there is always the potential for clearance rates to slip, yet vendors who adopt realistic price expectations are finding buyer demand remains strong,” she said.

“The first quarter of 2015 is shaping up as buoyant for residential property with transactional activity expected to tick over consistently as bigger-picture issues dominate the discussion in the background.”

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