Plenty of talk but not much delivered for housing in Budget

Cost of living was the phrase of the day in this week’s Budget delivery but for the majority of tenants

Cost of living was the phrase of the day in this week’s Budget delivery but for the majority of tenants and property owners there is little support coming in the year ahead.

One cohort with a little good news will be those financially vulnerable tenants on Commonwealth rent assistance where there has been a further 10% increase in support, though given the increases we continue to see in the market due to lack of supply, that increase is likely to be quickly swallowed up.

While its not an addition to the mix, property owners can breathe a small sigh of relief that there have been no big changes to existing measures, with negative gearing and capital gains concessions staying in place. Removing two of the biggest tax incentives for investing in property would not have been popular moves, given a desperate need for more rental accommodation, so we can be thankful for that. Despite calls for a national rent freeze from the Greens, this also remains off the table and common sense prevails for now.

Given the solution to housing shortages is obviously the creation of new supply, a lot of time and column inches was dedicated to tens of billions of dollars committed to new housing, both direct social and affordable housing and presumably to support the private sector, with dreams of 1.2 million new homes to be built in the next 5 years. This includes $1B towards crisis housing, $1B towards measures to combat homelessness and a further $1B to States and Territories specifically for infrastructure projects to service new development. 20,000 new fee-free TAFE positions are also designed to take the first steps towards addressing a chronic tradie shortage – a lack acutely felt by anyone that’s needs a plumber or sparky in the past 4 years….

As exciting as these numbers are though, the chances of 1M new homes actually being delivered prior to 2030 are probably comparable to picking the winning numbers on lotto. I am sure there is a world where it happens, but its unlikely to be this one, given the difficulties already in place in sourcing and developing suitable land, and then getting the materials and tradesmen to deliver in the current environment. On a local level we will be in need of thousands of those homes as soon as we can get them, but where you could put them is a big question.

So in short – some good ideas, funding for some worthy sections of the population but on the whole, no silver bullet or pot of gold.