“To help Australia’s 8 million renters, we need to sort out rental supply,” insists institute president, Hayden Groves.
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There can be no doubt around the existence of Australia’s severe, wide-reaching rental crisis. According to research firm CoreLogic’s most recent Quarterly Rental Review, published in July, the national rental vacancy rate sat at 1.2 per cent during the middle of the year, down 0.3 per cent from where it was 12 months earlier.
In response to the federal Senate inquiry into the nation’s worsening crisis, Australia’s peak real estate body, the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has provided the inquiry with a 10-point plan targeting assistance of Australian renters.
According to Mr Groves, and contrary to the belief espoused by Adam Bandt, leader of the Australian Greens party: “It’s not a question of us versus them.”
“In real estate, our business is renters living in successful tenancies and as an industry we are all fatigued of turning away high-quality and hard-working applicants due to this catastrophic rental undersupply,” he explained.
REIA’s 10 recommendations to ease the national rental crisis are:
- The Australian Bureau of Statistics to work with state and territory bonds agencies on a national snapshot of bonds and rent tenures
- National monitoring of rental pain points, particularly tenancies not professionally managed
- A cohesive national industry-government program of awareness materials is developed for renters
- Develop incentives for vacant properties and short stay rentals to bring them back to long-term rentals
- Commit to long-term stamp duty reform and offer immediate stamp duty waivers for purchases of rental properties in areas of high need
- Commission an immediate occupancy audit across government owned and funded housing
- Develop a feasibility study for repurposing non-residential real estate into residential housing
- Examine options for non-conventional rapid build homes in high areas of economic growth and housing need
- Pass the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill
In Mr Groves’ estimation, state and territory governments have seen the light with their recent rejection of rental interventions such as highly controversial rent freezes, while in June, Federal Housing Minister Julie Collins insisted on ABC News Breakfast that rent caps “[don’t] work”.
He noted “the government has thrown ambition and money to match it with the 1.2 million homes target and an extra $3.5 billion in funding for states and territories”.
With governments at all levels putting their money where their mouth is, Mr Groves declared: “It is time for the public and private sector to deliver.”
“They said they needed money, ambition and planning, and that is exactly what is happening,” he said.
Mr Groves concluded it is “time to move forward, together”.
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