Industry body calls out ‘failed’ housing agreement

The Housing Industry Association has accused the National Affordable Housing Agreement of failing to deliver on its targets “by a long shot”.

The “billions of dollars” that have passed through the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA) program should have delivered more in affordable housing outcomes, says HIA deputy managing director Graham Wolfe.

“The NAHA agreement, which commenced in 2009 with much fanfare about addressing lower-income rental stress, housing affordability and homelessness has fallen well short of its performance benchmarks,” Mr Wolfe said.

“The number of low-income households living in rental stress, for example, has grown by over 20 per cent nationally in the six years to 2013-14. The NAHA agreement targeted a reduction of 10 per cent.”

Mr Wolfe said that at a time when housing affordability is under “significant” pressure across Australia, the government should be doing more to help low and moderate income families into suitable accommodation.

“Instead of using taxpayer-funded grants and handouts more efficiently to meet the NAHA targets, state and local governments are adding to the affordability problem by taxing the private market through mandating fees, levies and charges on new housing developments,” he said, adding that such fees only add to the cost of new housing supply, thereby reducing housing affordability and placing further pressure on public housing waiting lists.

Mr Wolfe urged the government to consider alternate funding models to support the supply of affordable homes and improve housing affordability more broadly.

“Accessing private investment vehicles, using bond aggregators and tapping into government securities and tax incentives has the potential to deliver more tangible outcomes for low and middle income families across both rental and owner-occupier housing markets,” he said.

“HIA looks forward to supporting the government in securing and delivering more effective funding programs to increase home ownership and grow our nation’s affordable housing stock.”

[Related: Australia’s housing markets ‘severely unaffordable’]

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Francesca Krakue

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