Queensland’s housing sector remains in a precarious state a year after the Housing Summit, with recent building approval data highlighting the continued struggle to meet the demands of a growing population. The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) has expressed serious concerns about the state’s capacity to provide adequate housing.
REIQ Chief Executive Antonia Mercorella pointed to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data as a clear indication of the enduring housing issues. “ABS building approval data shows we are approving the same number of homes as we did in the 80’s when the population was half of what it is today,” Ms Mercorella stated, emphasising the mismatch between current housing approvals and population growth.
The Housing Industry Association’s benchmark suggests the necessity for over 40,000 new dwellings per annum in South East Queensland (SEQ) alone, yet only 33,755 new dwellings were approved statewide in the year to September. Ms Mercorella also drew attention to the insufficient number of social housing approvals, which sits at a mere 430 over the past year.
She further criticised the lack of outcomes from the Housing Investment Fund, pointing out the absence of tangible results despite its existence. “The size of the hedge fund is irrelevant if there are no tangible outcomes for Queenslanders doing it tough,” Ms Mercorella remarked.
The underwhelming performance of prefabricated housing initiatives was also highlighted, with only two such homes built up to 30 June, far below the modest target of 80 a year. Additionally, Ms Mercorella expressed disappointment regarding the delayed conversion of the Pinkenba facility into emergency accommodation, a plan announced by the State Government five months prior.
ABS building approval data shows we are approving the same number of homes as we did in the 80’s when the population was half of what it is today,REIQ Chief Executive, Antonia Mercorella
The REIQ CEO underscored the neglect of private investors in the housing sector, criticising the lack of support for these key players who buy, build, renovate, and provide housing for tenants. “Tax concessions have been provided to large institutional investors to build more rentals, but there has been nothing for smaller, everyday private investors,” she said, questioning the disparity in incentive approaches.
Ms Mercorella also pointed to the unchanging stamp duty thresholds as a significant barrier to homeownership, discouraging property turnover and affecting decisions between renting and buying. “Yet stamp duty thresholds have remained static for over a decade and there’s been no innovative thinking on how we can abolish if not erode this major roadblock,” she lamented.
The REIQ also raised concerns about the impact of continuous legislative changes and their execution on property managers, lessors, and tenants. Ms Mercorella recalled the rushed legislation change regarding rent increases in Queensland, which led to confusion and a spate of terminations, as the REIQ had predicted.
With further rental law reforms on the horizon and the impending state election, the REIQ insists on the accountability of political parties for their housing policies and promises. “It is imperative they are held to account for their announcements, and they are measured against their promises,” Ms Mercorella concluded, setting the stage for a critical discourse on housing as the election draws near.