MBA: reform needed to boost housing supply

Master Builders Australia (MBA) recently addressed the senate inquiry into affordable housing, with some interesting comments likely to capture the attention of home buyers. 

According to MBA, supply-side reforms are necessary to reduce housing shortfall, including measures to finance social housing. 

"Reducing the massive shortfall in new housing is the major challenge the nation faces in maintaining home ownership as a realistic aspiration rather than an unaffordable dream," stated Wilhelm Harnisch, chief executive of MBA on August 1. 

MBA has set out an eight-point Affordability Agenda highlighting the structural barriers to improving Australia's housing supply, Mr Harnisch explained.

One of the suggestions is country-wide competition-style payments to local councils to encourage the release of brownfield and greenfield land. More efficient planning and building approvals were suggested as well, which could make the new home building process even speedier for those building from the ground up.

MBA has suggested agreed master plans covering urban and regional infrastructure plans and urban consolidation could be beneficial to improve housing outcomes, while council-developed Land Release Plans could be a plus. 

A federal government online hub could prove a useful tool by offering a comparison tool to contrast land release schedules, developer charges and planning process efficiency across the country.

Dwellings prices in Perth have increased 2.21 per cent in the year to August 5, according to the RP Data-Rismark Daily Home Value Index. However, prices dipped 0.85 per cent in the three months to August 5, which could help those looking for affordable housing options - especially compared to rising quarterly figures in the likes of Melbourne and Sydney.

The Greater Perth area experienced the highest population growth rate among all capital cities in the year to 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The area's population increased by 67,500 people over this period, bringing the total number of residents to 1.97 million individuals as of June 2013.