federal budget 2024 housing Australia

Federal Housing Budget 2024

A Step in the Right Direction, But More is Needed

The 2024 federal budget dedicated 42 pages to addressing Australia's housing crisis. Let's break down the key announcements and if you're up for it and want to read the budget in full please click here.

The Current Challenges: There is record low housing affordability, increasing rents, and the continued cost-of-living pressures that are squeezing everyday Australians.

Relief for Renters:

  • Renters are getting a boost. Low-income renters will receive a boost in the way of a 10% increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance, which continues on last year's increase. This could mean an extra $70 per fortnight for some families.

  • The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement is set for increased funding which aims to improve access to secure and affordable housing.

  • Community housing providers will receive additional support with loans for new social and affordable housing. This aims to assist those in need by reducing wait times.

    Building More Homes:

  • The Australian government is addressing the supply issues by giving more money for "enabling infrastructure" like roads and utilities for new housing developments.

  • To address the skill shortage within the construction industry, the budget allocates funds for 20,000 fee-free TAFE places and fast-tracks skilled visas to boost the workforce.

A Three-Pillared Approach

The government's strategy focuses on:

  1. Building More Homes: This includes national targets and cooperation with states.

  2. Supporting Renters: Increased Rent Assistance and social housing funding to provide immediate relief.

  3. Helping First-Home Buyers: Here's where it gets a little grey.

The Help to Buy scheme, which offers government equity contributions, is still sitting somewhere in parliament with no timeline on approval. This has left first-home buyers relying on existing schemes with much smaller deposit requirements.

It's Clear - More Needs to Be Done

The budget did address some crucial needs, however there's room for improvement:

  • To truly offset the rental stress more funding may be needed for Rent Assistance.

  • Based on the current construction rates, we might actually miss our national housing targets

Suggested changes to the National Housing Accord:

  • Tying federal funding to states' performance in meeting housing targets could incentivise reform.

  • Using the Accord to coordinate a switch from stamp duty to land tax could free up existing housing stock and improve mobility.

The Bottom Line:

It's clear the budget offers some much-needed assistance for low-income renters and focuses on increasing housing supply. However, there is a clear lack of support for first-home buyers and with the potential shortfalls in construction goals, it leaves some questions unanswered. The government needs to continue the discussions and explore ways to make housing more affordable for all Australians.

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