80sqm housing blocks to go on sale in Perth, homelessness throughout Western and a steep fall in property values in Perth must make people wonder what is going on with housing in Western Australia?
WA needs to develop a sophisticated policy response to the housing issues emerging in the 21st century.
During 2016, about 42.9% of low income households in WA were in rental stress, spending more than 30% of their income on housing. Over 2015-16, more than 24,000 people accessed homelessness services in WA alone.
Australia is experiencing a profound change in its property landscape and it is reshaping our way of life. Australia’s rental market is typified by short leases, where at the end of lease, tenants can be evicted without reason.
The changes we are experiencing are the result of a cumulative policy failure spanning decades of inaction. We need large-scale housing policy reform.
Central to solving this problem is using our growing community housing sector to grow a dedicated new supply of rental housing that is made available to a low to moderate income households.
Another strategy may be to bring together WA Government land and superannuation fund capital in a partnership model; where the State would contribute land for the construction of dwellings.
Both the major parties talk about policies for more jobs in WA. The housing industry is a significant employer and economic driver. Supportive housing policy would stimulate the economy and lead to job creation across the state.
While housing affordability was a prominent Federal election issue, in the lead up to the WA election neither of the major parties have announced any significant policy reforms to address either housing affordability or homelessness.
Rising homelessness, worsening housing affordability and declining home ownership rates present a complex and concerning problem, but one that does have solutions, provided there is enough political will to drive reform.