mark mcgowan announces 2023-24 budget with 750 million for housing supply
The latest WA State Budget has injected seven hundred and fifty million dollars into the housing sector. Image: Canva.
  • $750 million boost for housing supply in WA
  • Measures broadly welcomed by industry
  • Apartment and rentals some of the big winners in the latest budget

The Western Australian Government has announced its latest Budget, with some of the key highlights: an expected $3.3 billion surplus for 2023-2024, and some $715 million in cost of living relief.

Premier Mark McGowan’s latest Budget also delivers a $750 million boost for housing supply and housing choice initiatives.

Some initiatives for the housing sector in the Budget include:

  • $511 million boost for social housing and homelessness,
    • $450 million increase in funding to the Social Housing Investment Fund, increasing the total number of social houses to be added to 4,000, with 1,200 already delivered,
    • $49 million provisioned for a pilot 100-home Regional Supportive Landlord Model,
    • Funding for the Office of Homelessness,
  • $48 million to boost the residential building and construction workforce,
    • Boosting the Base Employer Grant to $12,000 for apprentices
    • Expanding the Group Training Wages subsidy,
    • A $2,000 training completion payment for apprentices,
    • A targeted $11 million visa subsidy scheme to attract more skilled migrants to the industry,
  • $33 million committed to extend the off-the-plan transfer duty rebate, and lift the exemption threshold to $650,000 for a 100% duty concession, tapering to a 50% concession from $750,000,
  • $61.6 million in additional funding for Government Regional Officer Housing to refurbish existing homes and add new supply, plus a further freeze on GROH rents to incentivise key public sector workers to work in regional WA,
  • $55 million for upgrades to water infrastructure to unlock housing development in strategic sites across Perth, and
  • $12 million increase to the Regional Development Assistance Program to boost housing and land supply in regional WA.

Half a billion invested into social housing a welcome move

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) highlighted the continuing challenges the state faces with respect to housing supply and affordability.

HIA’s Executive Director WA, Michael McGowan said that the shortage of skilled labour remains the biggest housing industry hurdle for 2023, with the focussed spending a positive move.

“The Government’s investment of $11 million to support skilled migration and its continued support of apprentices in this budget is an important step in the right direction to improve labour supply.

Michael McGowan, HIA executive director WA

McGowan also welcomed the $511 million investment into social and affordable housing.

“Social and affordable housing has suffered from a prolonged under-investment. Greater investment in new housing that services this part of the market can assist in reducing the number of households experiencing housing stress.

“The current constraints in the housing market are creating a growing divide between social housing and affordable rentals.

“If housing affordability is to be improved, we must see further collaboration between all levels of government and industry, with a concerted focus on increasing the housing supply,” concluded McGowan.

Over $50B spent on infrastructure, housing, and construction workforce

Master Builders Association of Western Australia (MBA WA) has welcomed today’s State Budget, noting that, “… it lays a solid foundation for the future…”.

“We welcome the $750 million injection to boost housing supply, including $450 million social housing investment top-up, $61.6 million GROH new and refurbishments, $33 million to extend and expand the off the plan transfer duty rebate, $49 million community housing program and amendments to Keystart’s Urban Connect program to include one-bedroom apartments,” said Master Builders WA executive director John Gelavis.

“The State Government has announced a $39 billion pipeline of infrastructure work, including major projects including road projects, Woman’s and Babies Hospital, Graylands Hospital, State Hockey Facility, Perth Concert Hall and state asset management maintenance.”

The significant boost to jobs in the industry was a step in the right direction, said Master Builders WA, a much-needed move in view of the nearly 55,000 workers WA will require by 2026, some 26,000 of which will be tradies, according to the Association.

Perth is moving up with $33M concession

The Property Council WA said the State Budget has “… provided some optimism for apartment construction, with the announcement of a $33 million concession to replace the off-the-plan transfer duty rebate.”

Combined with recent announcements to improve planning approvals and fund the provision of site infrastructure, Property Council WA executive director Sandra Brewer praised the concessions as removing yet another barrier to housing supply.

“Stamp duty is a huge impost when buying a house, and today’s budget is great news for buyers considering an apartment,” said Brewer.

“For people considering downsizing, rightsizing, or moving into a brand-new apartment, it’s good news.”

“For many buyers of off-the-plan apartments valued at up to $650,000, they won’t pay stamp duty at all. For the average 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment it’s a 50 per cent discount to stamp duty.”

Sandra Brewer, Property Council WA executive director

Brewer added that the reforms will be a step forward in supporting housing diversity and encouraging more medium density closer to the city; the extension of the stamp duty concession to foreign buyers was also welcome.

The future of rentals is bright

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA) has also welcomed measures in today’s Budget, noting, “The extension of the Off-the-Plan Transfer Duty Rebate for another two years and changing the incentive from a rebate to a concession is a direct response to UDIA WA advocacy.”

Combined with already announced land tax concessions for Build-To-Rent which are now supported by recent Federal Government taxation changes, the future supply of rental accommodation is looking brighter although the short-term picture remains bleak for those in need of affordable rental accommodation.

“Investment in social housing remains a core focus of the McGowan Government and understandably so, as does using Keystart as a key lever for the provision of more affordable housing with low deposit finance and incentives to purchase in infill areas,” UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said.

“The missing piece remains a systemic view of the provision of housing supply across the spectrum and the supports required to help people transition between housing types as their needs and life circumstances dictate,” Steinbeck said.

While welcoming today’s budget measures, Steinbeck warned that relying on the 27,500 dwellings under construction to fix Perth’s housing supply crisis is flawed.

“Given increasing migration to Perth and Western Australia combined with underlying local demand that is currently suppressed due to lack of consumer confidence in the housing construction sector, the assumption that the pipeline of housing currently under construction will free up enough rental stock is dangerous,” Steinbeck said.

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