What the experts say the Federal Government's budget means for the Australian housing market
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What the experts say the Federal Government’s budget means for the Australian housing market

The Albanese Government is initiating a range of measures to tackle the housing crisis, but experts fear it’s not enough

By Bronwyn Allen
Thu, May 16, 2024 10:55amGrey Clock 3 min

The $11.3 billion Homes for Australia plan unveiled in this week’s Federal Budget includes an additional $1 billion in funding – on top of $500 million previously pledged to help the states and territories fast-track the building of ‘enabling infrastructure such as new roads, sewers and energy, water and community infrastructure to create more areas for buyers to build their new homes.

Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers handed down his third budget this week (Photo by Martin Ollman/Getty Images)

To support this goal, the Federal Government has also committed $90.6 million to grow Australia’s construction workforce, including 20,000 new fee-free places at TAFE and VET vocational colleges, as well as more skilled migrant visas. CoreLogic research director Eliza Owen commented: “This could add to labour supply to the tune of 22,000 workers, representing 1.7 percent growth in an industry where employment had an average quarterly increase of 0.7 percent over the past decade.”

More construction workers are desperately needed not only to help the Federal Government reach its target of 1.2 million new homes within five years, but also to offset the impact of construction company insolvencies. Ray White economist Nerida Conisbee points out that construction insolvencies continue to rise, with the latest ASIC figures showing 2,758 construction companies entered external administration over the 12 months to 31 March 2024.

Ray White economist Nerida Conisbee says insolvencies remain high in the building industry

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the budget encouraged the states and territories to kick start building”. He commented: “This Budget means more tradies, fewer barriers to construction, less talk and more homes. This isn’t about one suburb or one city or one state. It’s a challenge facing Australians everywhere and it needs action from every level of government.”

The Federal Government is also seeking to reduce demand in the private rental market following a 43.5 percent surge in the national median rent from $437 per week in August 2020 to $627 per week today, according to CoreLogic. The budget provides money for more social housing, plus a plan to make universities build more student accommodation, thereby removing some demand in the private rental market from low-income workers and domestic and international students.

Budget measures include an additional $423.1 million for the National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness, taking total funding to $9.3 billion over five years, under which more social housing will be built and existing housing repaired. REA senior economist Paul Ryan said: “All up, the government expects to support the building of 55,000 new social and affordable homes by 2029 – representing a 12 percent increase in the total number of available homes across the country.”

The plan to legislate new requirements for universities to build more accommodation follows a huge surge in immigration, with an almost 550,000 net increase in migrants over the 12 months to 30 September 2023, the bulk of which were international students and temporary workers.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance is being increased for the second year by 10 percent this time, following a 15 percent increase in last year’s budget. The two boosts represent about a $35 per week increase in assistance to almost one million Australians. The Budget also includes $1 billion for crisis and transitional accommodation for domestic violence victims and youth in distress.

AMP chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said the budget’s housing measures were unlikely enough to meet the goal of building 1.2 million new homes over five years. Dr Oliver said the supply shortfall was set to remain “unless immigration plunges”. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says net overseas migration next year is expected to be half what it was this year.

Dr Oliver said the budget’s housing measures were also unlikely to alter the outlook for home prices. He expects modest growth this year. Median dwelling values have already risen 2.2 percent between January 1 and April 30, following an 8.1 percent lift in 2023.



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The cost of owning a home in an LGBTQ-friendly area in the U.S. comes with a hefty price premium of almost 50%, according to a report Wednesday from Redfin.

In a metropolitan area with state laws protecting LGBTQ people from housing discrimination, a home buyer needs to earn an annual income of $150,364 to afford a median priced home. That’s 46.8% more than the $102,435 buyers need to earn to afford a home in places without such protections, the online property portal said.

For the purposes of their report, a metro is considered to have protections if the state it’s located in prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Redfin explained. In the case of metro areas which span multiple states, Redfin considered the metro to have protections if at least one of the states it’s located in prohibits such discrimination.

“LGBTQ+ Americans face disproportionately large barriers to homeownership,” said Redfin senior economist Elijah de la Campa in the report. “On top of paying a premium to live somewhere that feels safe, many LGBTQ+ house hunters are earning less than the typical U.S. worker, and face discrimination while shopping for homes despite laws that prohibit it.”

The locales where individuals identifying as LGBTQ make up the largest share of the adult population are also those where housing is the least affordable, the report found.

In San Francisco, where 6.7% of the adult population identifies as LGBTQ—the highest share of any of the 54 metropolitan areas Redfin analyzed—only 5.1% of listings last year were affordable based on the median local income, one of the lowest shares in the country.

In Portland, Oregon, which had the second highest share of LGBTQ adults at 6%, only 6.7% of homes for sale were affordable; in Austin, Texas, where 5.9% of the adult population identifies as LGBTQ, 2.9% of listings were affordable.

And in Seattle and Los Angeles, where LGBTQ adults make up 5.2% and 5.1% of the population, 4.8% and 1.9% of homes for sale were affordable, respectively.

All but one of those top LGBTQ metros—Austin—has state-level protections, the report said.

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