- First priority is to address rental shortage, said UIDA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck
- Proportion of new housing loans for investors has plunged to just 16%
- Along with tax reform, has called for more skilled workers
Calls for the Western Australian government to commit to significant property tax reform have come from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA WA), as part of its comprehensive state budget submission.
UDIA WA CEO Tanya Steinbeck said as the state emerges from the pandemic, the upcoming budget, which will be delivered by Treasurer Mark McGowan early next month, needs to focus on continuing strong and stable economic recovery.
“The development industry has proven that we are a critical player in the state economy and our budget recommendations focus on how the industry can be supported to continue to significantly contribute to economic growth,” Ms Steinbeck said.
In terms of priorities, Ms Steinbeck said the first is the rental crisis. The UDIA has advocated for looking at immediate supply levers to attract investors to purchase housing stock through the use of tax and other incentives.
According to Ms Steinbeck, 36% of new housing loans in WA were to investors in February 2017. Four years on this has plunged to just 16%.
“The rental market in WA unequivocally relies heavily on private investors purchasing property to subsequently rent out,” she said.
“That is the reality of the market here and we need to make decisions accordingly.”
A key recommendation from the UDIA is to extend the 75% stamp duty rebate for off the plan apartments to December next year while expanding it to include under-construction projects with the rebate made available upon settlement.
“UDIA is also a big supporter of facilitating more build to rent projects in WA, which allow developers to supply rental properties direct to market,” added Ms Steinbeck.
“In this case, we should look at the land tax exemptions that the State Government in NSW have implemented to create a greater appetite for build to rent here in WA.”
Facilitating growth and skills shortage also priorities
Along with property tax reform, the UDIA has called for action on population growth and addressing the skills shortage.
“The longer-term priority is developing a population strategy that maps out a plan for sustainable population growth post-pandemic,” Ms Steinbeck said.
“In the short term, as was highlighted at the recent Skills Summit, we need skilled workers now in order to meet the demand for housing and infrastructure, not to mention a range of other industries crying out for people.”
Tanya Steinbeck, UDIA WA CEO
She has also called for a more streamlined and timely approach to planning and approvals.
“Our submission suggests that funding is allocated to establishing a State Government Growth Areas Team to get decision making moving faster and foster greater collaboration across agencies.”
“All of our recommendations are based on getting the best out of the development industry so that we are delivering quality homes for the future,” concluded Ms Steinbeck.