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HIA’s Policy Priorities for 2021-2025 outline the actions and areas of focus that governments should collectively support to ensure the housing industry can deliver the homes we need, where people want them and at a price people can afford.
Home ownership continues to be the foundation that has helped build a stable and vibrant Australian society.
While the opportunity to own a home in Australia can be challenging, and the type of home many families aspire to is changing shape, evidence shows that an overwhelming majority of Australians agree; home ownership matters.
Home ownership rates in Australia peaked in 1966 at 71 per cent. This outcome was the result of federal government actions to support housing for all as Australia’s population growth began to increase, combined with a strong commitment to home ownership as a path to growing the wealth of Australians and the economy. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, home ownership rates had dropped to 66 per cent with renters, young and old, not seeing themselves ever realising their home ownership dream.
First home buyer activity dropped to the lowest level on record in 2011, when the annualised number of first home buyers dropped below 80,000. First home buyer activity was similarly weak during 2015 to 2017 when the market share of first home buyers dipped below 24 per cent.
One of the primary reasons for the decline in home ownership and first home buyer activity has been the prolonged undersupply of new housing, in all forms, driving a deterioration in housing affordability.
Achieving an improvement in home ownership begins with taking actions that can deliver a genuinely responsive supply chain for new land and housing, in all forms, in all locations, year on year.
In 2020 federal, state and territory governments provided assistance for people impacted by the pandemic to remain secure in their housing, whether as owners or renters.
Governments recognised the ability for home building to operate in a COVID safe manner allowing the industry to continue operating throughout the pandemic. This decision reflected the recognition by governments of the economic multiplier that new home building delivers to the Australian economy through jobs and associated economic activity.
These factors, combined with continuing low interest rates and the significant support for new home building through national and state building grants in 2020, has set the market on track for a peak in detached house starts that is well above all previous cycles. The peak in demand for land, skilled workers and building materials has stretched the industry’s capacity.
HIA’s forecasts indicate that 2021 will see Australia start construction of a record number of new detached homes. Home renovation activity is similarly strong and is likely to remain so. The combination of factors that have led to this boom are unprecedented and this level of activity is not likely to be seen in the detached market for many years, if not decades. However, apartment construction has been weakening and that trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Housing starts are not expected to return to their pre-COVID shock numbers until sometime after 2025. Even then, the expectation is that the slower rate of population growth will impede housing starts until at least 2030.
HIA has identified eight policy priorities that will be the basis of the Association’s advocacy over the next five years.
By focusing on these priorities HIA aims to achieve the necessary support from all levels of government, the industry and the community, to maintain a strong, stable and affordable housing supply that meets the nation’s needs.
The policy settings that emerge from governments over the next five years must recognise ‘housing matters’ and set the scene for success.
Governments must focus on supporting actions that reduce the complexity of the planning system, create certainty for all stakeholders and wind back the undue expectations on new home buyers to pay now for the needs of future Australians.
HIA will focus on creating and maintaining a building approvals regime that is nationally consistent and fit for purpose; a building system that recognises the pressure on industry practitioners to build quality and compliant homes.
HIA will work to achieve regulatory and administrative arrangements that create a clear pathway to let businesses do business and deliver the homes and renovations Australians demand.
HIA will continue to work to make safety management in residential building easy to understand and practical to achieve on housing sites to ensure we keep our people safe.
HIA will focus on ways to gain, train and retain people of all ages and to grow the workforce that can deliver the homes we need over the next decade.
HIA will focus on opportunities to build a credible and trusted residential building industry that is capable and committed to delivering the homes Australians need at a quality they expect.
HIA will remain focused on delivering our vision over the next five years to provide leadership for the industry and to speak with a common voice on all industry issues.
The residential building, renovation and development industry association which:
To promote policies and provide services which enhance members’ business practices, products and profitability, consistent with the highest standards of professional and commercial conduct.