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First home buyer problem due to ‘gross housing shortage’

by Nick Bendel10 minute read

Governments have been urged to solve the first home buyer problem after new research found almost half of Australians feel home ownership may be an impossible dream.

A HomeStart Finance survey found 42 per cent of respondents thought it was nearly impossible to own their own home, while 21 per cent felt they would never own their home outright.

The survey by South Australia’s government-backed lender also found the main barriers to home ownership were the rising cost of living, income levels and the difficulty in saving a deposit.

Australians for Affordable Housing spokesperson Jacqui Phillips said young people were facing a “serious affordable housing supply shortage” and “exponentially” rising prices.


“Governments have a responsibility to take action to help young people enter the housing market,” she told The Adviser.

“Firstly, by reforming housing tax concessions so we stop rewarding speculative investors for driving up prices without increasing supply, and secondly through innovative strategies to increase housing supply and affordability.”

MFAA chief executive Phil Naylor said governments and industry groups need to work together on a national housing strategy to ensure a long-term balance of housing supply and demand.

“We have a gross housing shortage, and that’s why housing prices are remaining high and that’s the single biggest factor in keeping first home buyers out of the market,” he said.

Mr Naylor told The Adviser that measures such as first home owner grants and stamp duty exemptions are only short-term solutions.

“It’s been established to some degree that if you keep subsidising first home buyers, all you do is increase the demand and therefore push up the price,” he said.

Mr Naylor said it was in the federal government’s interest to increase the levels of home ownership because that meant it would have fewer people to support in retirement.

[Related: The first home buyer crisis and what we can do about it]