Is insufficient housing holding Australia back as a nation?
Australia is a progressive nation, always striving to create a better, fairer environment for all. However, there are some things that could be holding us back in this regard, and according to the Social Progress Index (SPI), access to affordable housing could be one of them.
In 2014, Australia ranked tenth on the SPI. This year’s index reveals no change for our nation at all – which hardly sits right with our need to improve and better our circumstance. Tenth place is nothing to sneeze at, putting Australia at the bottom of the list of the “very high social progress” nations, ahead of 123 other countries ranked on the index.
Where does real estate in Australia fit in?
The metric for shelter, which is dictated by people’s access to “adequate housing with basic utilities”, ranks Australia 22nd. When it comes to basic human needs, houses for sale that are affordable and accessible seem to be an area where we could improve.
There have been many suggestions around ways to bolster housing availability and affordability, especially for first home buyers. One aspect that keeps coming up is the high rate of tax on property purchases, primarily driven by stamp duty, which increases the cost of a home purchase.
As the country heads towards potential tax reform in 2016, it’s important that industry participants and individuals alike take part in the discussion around reshaping the nation’s taxation system.
“We urgently need to reform the current taxation arrangements including the abolition of inefficient state taxes that can adversely impact the economy such as stamp duties, which discourage population mobility,” said Neville Sanders, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia in a 30 March statement.
Mr Sanders went on to note that the current economic and political landscape is ripe for discussion around tax reform, and the current government now has an opportunity to create meaningful change in the way Australians live.
Where else can Australia improve?
The SPI shows that Australia has a long way to go in terms of ecosystem sustainability as well. With green building and sustainability at home becoming a growing influence, there is another chance for real estate in Australia to contribute to the progress of the nation.
With new and existing homes for sale increasingly featuring green building techniques and sustainable appliances, everyday homeowners have a bigger role to play than ever before in making Australia one of the most liveable nations on the planet. If policy reform is achieved as well, the combined effects should catapult our country to the top of the log.