REIQ Commends Federal Housing Policies

Media Release,  Principals,  Salespeople

In the lead up to the election, the Coalition today announced two new housing initiatives which have attracted praise from Queensland’s real estate peak body, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ).

The first, a scheme to allow first home buyers to invest a “responsible portion” of their superannuation in a new or existing property to help them buy a first home. Under the scheme, first home buyers will be able to invest up to 40 per cent of their superannuation, up to a maximum of $50,000. Currently, this is only available for available for voluntary contributions.

The second, an expansion of the current ‘downsizer’ rules which would allow Australians aged over 55 to sell their homes and invest an extra $300,000 per person from the proceeds into their superannuation on a tax-free basis. The scheme already exists for those aged over 65.

REIQ Antonia Mercorella said both housing initiatives demonstrated an innovative approach and were welcome additions in the Coalition’s election campaign.

“This initiative will help older Australians to invest in their superannuation and improve their future financial security while freeing up housing stock for younger, growing Australian families. It’s win-win for everyone,” Ms Mercorella said.

“The REIQ has long supported ‘right-sizing’ incentives – In the lead up to the last Queensland state election, we called for stamp duty exemptions for older Queenslanders arguing that the removal of this costly tax would provide senior citizens with an opportunity to move into more age-appropriate housing and create more housing options for young, growing families.”

In addition to the new initiatives announced today, the REIQ commended both the Coalition and Labor for launching initiatives aimed at helping first home buyers to break into ownership and improve housing access for young families.

Under Labor’s ‘Help to Buy’ policy, the ALP will fund up to 40% of the price for a new home and up to 30% for an existing home for first home buyers. The scheme will be open to 10,000 Australians each year.

Labor has also committed to the establishment of a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council and the development of a National Housing and Homelessness Plan.

Ms Mercorella said that these initiatives proposed by Labor were also welcomed by the peak body.

“The Help to Buy scheme will enable first home buyers to realise their dream of ownership much faster because a smaller deposit will be required. While other benefits include lower mortgage repayments on an ongoing basis,” she said.

“The REIQ, together with other property stakeholders, have long advocated for such initiatives to focus on land supply and use, planning and improve housing affordability.

“It’s time to recognise that we need a unified approach to tackle housing supply and affordability issues. This critical issue can be better managed if we have the right key stakeholders at the table.

“This includes Federal and State and Territory governments, local government, industry bodies, housing providers and urban development representatives. Future planning is key to solving housing supply and affordability issues.”

Ms Mercorella said it was pleasing to see both parties putting housing accessibility and affordability front and centre in their respective election campaigns.

“In the lead up to the Federal election, we have heard many Australians expressing concern about housing accessibility and affordability issues,” Ms Mercorella said.

“Across Australia, this is a critical issue that requires immediate attention from the next Federal Government.”

Although the REIQ welcomed the Federal housing policies developed by the major parties, it argued that the State Government should do more to improve housing affordability and accessibility in Queensland.

“It is disappointing that in Queensland, first home buyers are not able to access the First Home Owners’ Grant to buy an established home. Thousands more Queenslanders could realise their home ownership dream with some upfront financial assistance,” Ms Mercorella concluded.

ENDS

Media enquiries:
Claire Ryan, Media and Stakeholder Relations Manager, The Real Estate Institute of Queensland
M: 0417 623 723 E: media@reiq.com.au

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