27/11/2020 - 13:00

UDIA WA calls for policy changes

27/11/2020 - 13:00

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Tax reform and a strategy to address the residential rental crisis are among the key initiatives the Urban Development Institute of Australia WA is canvassing the state government to consider as part of its election commitment.

UDIA WA calls for policy changes
Tanya Steinbeck says the institute is calling for an extension of the off-the-plan stamp duty rebate scheme. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Tax reform and a strategy to address the residential rental crisis are among the key initiatives the Urban Development Institute of Australia WA is canvassing the state government to consider as part of its election commitment.

The UDIA WA launched its state election campaign at an industry luncheon held today, in front of more than 500 attendees including Premier Mark McGowan.

Boosting land supply, addressing the state’s residential rental stock shortage, developing a plan to promote WA, and implementing immediate and longer-term tax reform measures are key aspects of UDIA’s campaign.

UDIA WA chief executive Tanya Steinbeck said the campaign called on all political parties and candidates to shape policy platforms in the lead up to the state election.

“Our campaign calls on all political parties and candidates to shape policy platforms in the lead up to the WA election that will work toward maximising the state’s potential as the best place in the world to live, work and invest,” she said.

“A critical issue in the immediate term is the growing rental crisis and the need to ensure that industry is geared toward delivering a steady supply of affordable housing to Western Australians. 

“This comes down to adequate land supply and cutting red and green tape so that we can deliver land to the market efficiently.

“We also need to attract investment in the housing market to build up rental stock.”

Ms Steinbeck pointed to the rental vacancy rate sitting at just under 1 per cent as unsustainable.

According to the Real Estate Institute of WA, Perth’s rental market has reached crisis levels with the vacancy rate reducing to below 1 per cent due to the flow-on effects of COVID-19.

Limited rental stock had pushed up rents, REIWA said, with median rent increasing from $350 to $380 per week in the past few months, representing an 8.5 per cent jump.

REIWA expects rents to increase an additional 10 to 15 per cent in 2021, however, even with this increase it said WA could continue to be the most affordable capital city for rentals.

“We will see increased pressure on the public housing system and the state’s homelessness response if we don’t address rental supply immediately,” Ms Steinbeck said.

“The state must review and remove any disincentives to investors entering the WA market and ensure that the moratorium on rental evictions is removed as committed on March 31 2021.”

UDIA WA is also calling for a comprehensive review of the WA tax system.

“In the short term we are seeking a commitment to implement a moratorium on the foreign buyers surcharge, which has essentially put a halt on investors buying into the WA apartment market and exacerbating the rental supply crisis,” Ms Steinbeck said. 

“We also want to see an extension of the off-the-plan stamp duty rebate scheme.

“This is another avenue to get more investment happening to supplement the supply of rental accommodation.

“In the longer term, the removal of stamp duty, which is a barrier to people ‘right sizing’ into a more suitable home, is required. 

“They are doing it NSW, it has been done in the ACT, it is WA’s turn to take the plunge and it will require real leadership from a strong state government that is willing to look beyond the four-year election cycle.”

Population growth was also top of mind for UDIA WA, with the institute proposing the development of a population strategy that mapped out a sustainable plan for growth as a key priority.

More to come

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