Mortgage Choice CEO John Flavell has hit out at the lack of industry consultation in the lead-up to the federal parliamentary inquiry into home ownership.
Labelling the inquiry as “another case of political grandstanding”, Mr Flavell said that while any move to address the issue of housing affordability is welcome, the purpose of this particular inquiry by the Standing Committee on Economics, due to start tomorrow, remains unclear.
“We believe anything that is done to help improve housing affordability and make it easier for people, particularly first home buyers, to purchase property should be applauded. That said, we seriously question the purpose of the government’s upcoming inquiry into home ownership,” Mr Flavell said.
“The vague terms of reference that have been released to the public suggest this inquiry is another case of political grandstanding. Topics the inquiry will cover – from ‘demand and supply drivers’ in the property market to the ‘impact of current tax policies’ – are a constant point of discussion in the community and covered by media most days of the week.
“While the wider public has been invited to make submissions to the inquiry, industry has not been consulted nor briefed on any specific objectives. This is disappointing to say the least, as industry can help make recommendations that are not only realistic, but affect positive change.”
As Mr Flavell points out, interest rates at historic lows have done nothing to boost the affordability of housing for first home buyers, and indeed in markets such as Sydney and Melbourne, may be making the situation worse.
“We believe more needs to be done to help make property ownership more achievable for young Australians. At present government policies, like stamp duty, are inhibiting prospective buyers, as they are failing to keep pace with the market. The cost of stamp duty has soared by almost 800 per cent across many of our states over the past two decades,” he said.
“The time has come for reform in the housing market. At Mortgage Choice, we don’t want band-aid solutions, we want real solutions and those must start with the government. We need our government to engage industry and have true and frank discussions about what can be done to help more Australians – particularly first home buyers – achieve their dream of home ownership.”
Submissions for the inquiry close tomorrow, 26 June 2015, and the report is scheduled for release in early December.
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