HIGH immigration making housing affordability an “impossible dream”

HIGH immigration is making housing affordability an “impossible dream”, a research institute says.
More than half of the need for new housing in Melbourne in the decade to 2022 was attributable to migration, according to The Australian Population Research Institute.
In Sydney the proportion was even higher, at 64 per cent.
Net migration is around 200,000 a year, but will climb to 237,000 in 2018-19, say Federal Government forecasts. Melbourne, with a population of 4.5 million, has the fastest growth of any city, and is adding about 1800 people a week.
Population Research Institute president Bob Birrell said the impact of migration was missing from the current debate on housing affordability.
“We are bringing in a large number of young migrant families who are directly competing for family-friendly housing in both cities,” he said.
“The government wants housing affordability but it’s refusing to acknowledge that its immigration policy is making affordability in Melbourne and Sydney in established family-friendly housing an impossible dream.”
Dr Birrell said Melbourne had a huge supply of high-rise flats, but they weren’t suitable for most families.
“Young migrant families are no more interested in tiny apartments than are young Australian couples trying to set up to have a family,” he said.
Raising the issue of housing affordability this week, federal Treasurer Scott Morrison acknowledged the role of population growth, but didn’t specifically mention immigration.
Mr Morrison said other factors inflating house prices included two-income house­holds and credit access for owner occupiers. He said the key to affordability was to ensure supply met demand.
Property Council of Australia state CEO Sally Capp said housing affordability was falling due to rising property taxes, high labour costs and an antiquated planning system.
“Turning the migration tap off will lead to higher housing prices because Australia has a skilled labour shortage, espec­ially in construction,” she said.
“The fastest and surest way to improve affordability is to cut stamp duty, abolish foreign investment taxes and modernise our planning system.”

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