Property market is ‘Game of Homes’

07 Game of Homes Photo courtesy Creative CommonsDelivering the second of Shelter NSW’s 4-part housing economics lectures, Professor Peter Phibbs describes the Sydney market as a ‘game of homes’.

Speaking at the second of a four-part series, Phibbs – from the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning – likened the shifting blame-games of all three levels of government to the TV series based on George RR Martin’s saga.

‘A lot of stakeholders like to say the housing shortage results from a supply bottleneck – they won’t admit it’s tax settings and the setting of interest rates at 40-year lows.’

Phibbs says that inclusionary zoning is a better idea than zoning uplift/bonus schemes ‘as long as developers are given lots of notice’. He also commends the idea of build-to-rent for industry super funds that want to put such investments in their ‘ethical option’ for members with a long-term investment horizon.

In the first of the four lectures, Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, outline five possible solutions. Dr Spies-Butcher, who is Senior Lecturer, Economy and Society, in Macquarie University’s Sociology Department, said these are:

  1. Addressing tax concessions – the Commonwealth spends around $5bn a year directly on housing, and more than $30bn in concessional tax arrangements
  1. Increasing rental supply – social housing stock is cheaper than subsidising private alternatives and pushes private market down
  1. Helping renters – if more people rent for longer, then they need similar protections to those in other tenure forms
  1. Acknowledging political obstacles – large proportion of people own their home, a growing proportion invest, these groups are relatively wealthy and politically organised
  2. Overcoming economic barriers – housing stock has developed over time and its value is large, private housing is important for consumer confidence and jobs