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Unlocking the housing market

Every Victorian deserves the safety and security of a home.

But for many, that’s becoming increasingly harder.

A significant number of Victorians, particularly young Victorians, are struggling to break into the housing market.

House prices are rising and upfront costs – a deposit, stamp duty and fees – quickly add up.

It’s getting harder for renters too.

Many struggle to meet high rental prices, or instead choose to live in unsuitable housing. Some don’t have the security they need, or the capacity to personalise their home as they would like.

At the same time, the number of Victorians who need to access public and community housing is growing. Waiting lists are long, and many of our existing homes have fallen into disrepair.

In short, too many Victorians don’t have a real choice about where they live, or the type of home they live in.

And as our population grows, inaction will only make things worse.

Fixing this problem isn’t simple.

It’s why Homes for Victorians provides a co-ordinated approach across government, and across our state. It includes:

  • abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to $600,000 and cuts to stamp duty on homes valued up to $750,000
  • doubling the First Home Owner Grant to $20,000 in Regional Victoria to make it easier for people to build and stay in their community
  • creating the opportunity for first home buyers to co-purchase their home with the Victorian Government
  • making long-term leases a reality
  • building and redeveloping more social housing – supporting vulnerable Victorians while creating thousands of extra jobs in the construction industry.

It builds on existing work being done, including the soon to be released Plan Melbourne 2017-2050, reform of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, the Better Apartment guidelines and the Family Violence Housing Blitz.

It also builds on our efforts to better connect Victorians with services and infrastructure. From schools to health care, roads to public transport, regardless of where they live, every Victorian should have access to the things they need.

It’s a big job, but the aim is simple: to give every Victorian every opportunity to find a home.

The national perspective

It’s undeniable that house prices and rental costs are influenced by taxation, population, and income support policies – all controlled by the Commonwealth Government.

Currently, Commonwealth tax policies like negative gearing and capital gains concessions benefit investors and not first home buyers. As a result, buying your first home is harder than ever before. The Victorian Government believes there can, and should be, a better balance for people looking to buy a home.

The Commonwealth Government should also commit to fairer and longer term funding for social housing and homelessness services across Australia.

The number of people facing homelessness is growing across every Australian state. Here in Victoria, requests for assistance have increased to more than 100,000 per year in the past four years.

This problem has been made worse by the Commonwealth Government funding cuts and uncertainty. This includes cutting the National Rental Affordability Scheme early and uncertainty around the future of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, as well as the Commonwealth's failure to commit to long-term funding for local services.

The Victorian Government is committed to working in partnership with the Commonwealth Government to increase social housing stock and boost homelessness services.

We will also continue to fight for greater certainty and security when it comes to homelessness and the National Affordable Housing Agreement.

But critically, we need the Commonwealth to come to the table with a substantial reform package.

Housing in Victoria

The Victorian Government is willing to play its part to make homes more affordable and more accessible.

This includes helping people to buy their first home, increasing housing supply, creating a more stable rental market, upgrading social housing and improving services for Victorians looking for a home.

Our tax settings and supports, including the First Home Owner Grant, influence people’s decisions and impact the housing market.

We’re also directly responsible for the delivery of social housing, ensuring our planning system supports appropriate growth, and regulating tenancy laws and estate agencies.

All of this makes a real difference in how Victorians access and afford a home.

At the same time, this strategy recognises that there are many pieces to this puzzle.

It requires collaboration from local government, developers and builders, investors, real estate agents, owners, tenants and not-for-profit organisations.