“The Commonwealth cannot focus properly on housing issues without a specific Minister to oversee this and to coordinate a policy response across Australia in consultation with State, Territory and local governments,” Mr Dyett said.
Mr Dyett said as a first step the appointed Minister should engage with State and Territory ministerial counterparts, as well as with industry representatives and other stakeholders to ensure that policy promises are coordinated and translated into meaningful action.
“The REIA looks forward to the Rudd Government implementing its housing affordability policies as soon as possible, including the First Home Saver Account Scheme, the National Rental Affordability Scheme and the Housing Affordability Fund.
“Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on housing occupancy and costs show that between 2003 and 2006, some 44.5 per cent of all first home buyers spent more than 30 per cent of their gross income on housing costs, while 10.4 per cent spent more than 50 per cent.
Those first home buyers in the lowest income quintile were hardest hit, with 67.2 per cent spending more than 30 per cent of their gross income on housing.
“Home loan affordability data released in the September quarter Deposit Power/REIA Home Loan Affordability Report last week found that home loan affordability had reached a 22-year low, with 36.6 per cent of family income required to meet average loan repayments on new home loans,” Mr Dyett said.
“Housing is a necessity, not a luxury. With affordability issues reducing the ability of young people and renters to become home buyers, we are potentially creating a significant economic gap between the housing ‘haves and the have nots’ ” Mr Dyett said.