Out of reach? The Australian housing affordability challenge

8 May 2015

© Commonwealth of Australia 2015
ISBN 978-1-76010-208-1

View the report as a single document - (PDF 2647KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Senate Economics Legislation Committee (PDF 21KB)
Abbreviations (PDF 10KB)
Executive summary (PDF 69KB)
Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF 50KB)

Conduct of inquiry
Relevant reports and publications
Structure of report

Chapter 2 -  Overview of housing affordability in Australia (PDF 164KB)

Defining and measuring housing affordability
Committee view
Does Australia have a housing affordability problem?
Committee view
What are the implications of poor housing affordability?
Housing costs and risks to financial stability
Committee view

Chapter 3 -  The drivers of housing affordability in Australia (PDF 79KB)

An overview of supply-side and demand-side considerations
Ensuring policy interventions responses are effective
Committee view

Chapter 4 -  A Commonwealth Housing Minister (PDF 65KB)

A Housing Minister, not a Housing Welfare Minister
Committee view

Chapter 5 - Housing as intergovernmental policy: roles, responsibilities and accountability (PDF 204KB)

Roles, responsibilities and the need for intergovernmental coordination
State and territory spending on housing: accountability and transparency
The institutional architecture of housing policy
The need for a national affordable housing plan
Committee view

Chapter 6 - The impact of state and local taxes, fees and charges on housing affordability (PDF 154KB)

The burden of state and local taxes, fees and charges on new housing stock
Stamp duty
State government land taxation
Committee view
Infrastructure charges on new housing developments
Committee view

Chapter 7 - Zoning, planning and approval processes (PDF 110KB)

Planning systems and housing affordability
Land release and rezoning
Land release and challenges in outer suburban areas
Commonwealth land supply
Infill development and densification
Urban renewal and housing affordability
The Commonwealth's role in urban planning and development
'Nimbyism' and the delivery of new housing stock
Development assessment and approval processes
Committee view

Chapter 8 - Innovation and the building industry (PDF 76KB)

Construction costs
Energy efficiency and housing affordability
Housing that is accessible, adaptable and appropriate
Committee view

Chapter 9 - Commonwealth taxation settings (PDF 145KB)

The tax treatment of investor housing
Committee view
Tax and the family home
Committee view

Chapter 10 - Housing finance, investor activity and macroprudential policy (PDF 107KB)

Access to finance and the mortgage industry
Committee view
Owner-occupier mortgages and mortgage stress
Borrowing by housing investors and potential macroprudential tools
Committee view
Limited recourse borrowing for property by SMSFs
Committee view

Chapter 11 - Home ownership (PDF 160KB)

The benefits of home ownership
Home ownership trends in Australia
First Home Owner Grants (FHOGs)
First Home Saver Accounts
Access to superannuation for a home deposit
Shared equity schemes
Financing support, including HomeStart Finance
Indigenous home ownership
Committee view

Chapter 12 - Older people and home ownership (PDF 76KB)

Home ownership as a form of wealth in retirement
Pension eligibility and home ownership
Downsizing, resizing, 'rightsizing'
Committee view

Chapter 13 - Affordable rental market (PDF 212KB)

Supply of rental properties
Changing profile
Rental stress
Affordable and appropriate housing
Benefits of affordable, appropriate and secure housing
Security of tenure—solutions

Chapter 14 - Social Housing (PDF 136KB)

Statistics—social housing
Public housing
Incentives to remain in public housing

Chapter 15 - Community housing (PDF 145KB)

Role of community housing sector
Growth of community housing sector
Transfer of public housing to community housing sector
Attributes of the community housing sector
Title transfer
Need for public housing

Chapter 16 - Particular housing needs (PDF 178KB)

People with particular needs and the rental market
Older Australians in private rental
Older Australians and social housing
Alternate accommodation
Older single women
Women on low incomes and affordable housing
Domestic violence
Refugees and migrants
Essential service workers and long term residents of regions undergoing rapid development

Chapter 17 - Indigenous Australians (PDF 99KB)

Indigenous households
Trends of indigenous Australians in social housing
National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing
Culturally appropriate housing

Chapter 18 - Homelessness (PDF 207KB)

Definition of homelessness
Statistics on homelessness
Social housing—supply side
Lived experiences of homeless people
Homelessness among Australians—the young and the old
Older Australians and homelessness
Keeping people housed
National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH)
Future of NPAH
Withdrawal of funding from Housing and Homelessness Program
Williams decision—implications for funding housing and homelessness

Chapter 19 - National Affordable Housing Agreement (PDF 76KB)

Criticism of NAHA
Areas for improvement
Government's response

Chapter 20 - National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) (PDF 166KB)

NRAS objectives
Support for NRAS
NRAS and the states
Specific concerns—international students and trading incentives

Chapter 21 - NRAS, review of housing and homelessness and the Federation White Paper (PDF 136KB)

Government's view of NRAS
Proposed review
White Paper on Federation
Response to government announcements
Scope for improvement
Suggested improvements
Possible loss of charitable status

Chapter 22 - Commonwealth Rent Assistance (PDF 119KB)

Eligibility for Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA)
Previous reviews
Effectiveness of CRA
Other forms of rental assistance
Income stream for community housing providers

Chapter 23  - Investment in affordable housing (PDF 113KB)

Government sector
Not-for-profit sector
Private investment

Chapter 24 - Conclusion (PDF 57KB)

National importance
National leadership

Dissenting Report by Government Senators (PDF 31KB)

Comments on recommendations

Additional comments by Senator Nick Xenophon (PDF 24KB)
Additional Comments from the Australian Greens (PDF 22KB)
Appendix 1 - Submissions received (PDF 36KB)
Appendix 2 - Tabled documents (PDF 19KB)
Appendix 3 - Public hearings and witnesses (PDF 23KB)
Selected Bibliography (PDF 91KB)

Parliamentary committee reports
Government Response
Media releases, statements and transcripts

Committee Secretariat contact:

Senate Standing Committees on Economics
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3540