The Gold Coast Bulletin
Renters on the brink
Claim government’s focus on first-home buyers raises homelessness risk
RENTERS struggling to make ends meet are being put at risk of homelessness as residential property prices continue soaring across the nation.
The federal government on Tuesday night unveiled more incentives to help first-home buyers, which economists warn could drive up already ballooning prices.
Affordable housing advocates Everybody’s Home says the government should have done more to support renters and older Australians at risk of homelessness.
“Unfortunately, the government has missed an opportunity to invest in the potential of our people,” campaign spokeswoman Kate Colvin said.
“Escalating housing prices are pushing more and more people into homelessness, including women and children escaping family violence, young people who can’t stay at home, and older people on low incomes, especially women.”
House prices have surged 11.8 per cent across Australia in the past 12 months, according to Ms Colvin, adding that the property boom was pushing low and middle income households further behind, and left them exposed to rising rents.
“The economic benefit of social and affordable housing had been overlooked,” Ms Colvin said.
“Affordable and social housing provides the stability to find a job, and look after your health and your family.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday night announced the 5 per cent deposit scheme for 10,000 first-home buyers purchasing a new dwelling would continue, with the federal government guaranteeing up to 15 per cent of the loan.
The First Home Super Saver will allow up to $50,000 in voluntary contributions, up from $30,000, for a first home deposit. AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said the measures were to be “commended” given they helped worthy groups who had been priced out of the market, but they came with risks.
“The danger … is that it just helped pump the property market up further without solving the underlying problem … a lack of supply, relative to relatively strong demand,” Mr Oliver told ABC Radio National.
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie accused the government of turning its back on people who needed support amid a housing affordability crisis.
“That would have been a much better spend than the kinds of policies that the government came up with on that front,” Dr Goldie said.