House debates

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Questions without Notice

Housing Affordability

2:24 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on measures the government is taking to improve housing affordability, including in my electorate of Bennelong? Is the Treasurer aware of any higher taxing alternative ideas?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Bennelong for his question—I remind the House: a victor over Senator Keneally in straight sets! The member for Bennelong knows that Labor's plan to get rid of negative gearing is turning into a big negative for them and anyone who would elect a Labor government. The benefit of having a strong, growing economy is it will create more jobs, there's more money in people's pockets and they have a better chance of getting into the housing market. Over the last financial year, more than 115,000 first home buyers got approval for a loan, the highest number since 2009. It's a result of the policies that we are putting in place. APRA, the prudential regulator, has tightened the lending for investors. We have put in place our first home buyer super saver scheme. We've made it easier for seniors to downsize their property and to put the proceeds of sale into their superannuation. And we have tightened the rules around foreign investors in the residential home market.

This is what is helping to change the dynamic in the housing market from investor-led growth to owner-occupier-led growth. This is also leading to an orderly unwind in the housing sector. For 12 consecutive months, housing prices have come down in the capital cities. But this orderly unwind and this stability in the housing sector is at risk from Labor's new property tax grab—a new tax grab with their changes to negative gearing and capital gains. Standard & Poor's have said that, if house prices were to fall sharply in Australia, this would increase risks to Australia's AAA credit rating. It would increase the risk to Australia's economic growth and to financial stability. RiskWise has said that Labor's policies could put downward pressure of up to nine per cent on the family home. Citigroup has said that Labor's policy would accentuate the cyclical weakness. CoreLogic has said that Labor's policy would have a negative impact on buyer confidence. We know that 58,000 teachers, 41,000 nurses and 19,000 people in the police forces and emergency services with negative geared properties would all be worse off as a result of Labor's policy. No wonder the member for Lilley said it was economically disastrous to change negative gearing. Only the coalition can be trusted to protect the value in your family home.