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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3169 ..


MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (4.18): I thank Mr Parton for the opportunity to talk about supply and demand, and the housing market in the ACT, in support of Minister Berry’s amendment.

When I arrived in Canberra in 1994, separate houses accounted for 81.6 per cent of properties in the ACT, but by 2017-18 only 68.7 per cent of properties were separate houses. The proportion of properties that are apartments has grown over that same period. Because the proportion of homes that are apartments has grown since the introduction of the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount in 1999, and the stock of separate houses has not been renewed at the same rate, it is therefore unsurprising that the average housing cost of an apartment by 2017-18 was $344 per week, higher than the average $338 per week for a house.

At the same time as this shift from houses to apartments was occurring, there was also a shift from home ownership to private market renting. The proportion of ACT households in home ownership, with or without a mortgage, decreased from 66.8 per cent in 1997-98 to 63.8 per cent in 2017-18. At the same time the percentage of households in private rental housing increased from 17.1 per cent in 1997-98 to 26.1 per cent in 2017-18.

People who would have owned their home in the past are now living in private rental accommodation, at a time when the cost of housing is increasing; and the mix of housing is shifting from separate houses to apartments, often designed and marketed by private developers to middle income or higher professionals, not families on median or lower incomes.

Renting is disproportionately more common in the lowest income households in the ACT. The 2016 census showed that, for households with total income of $999 per week or less, 10.7 per cent were paying for a mortgage, but 21.6 per cent were paying private market rent. For households with income of $1,000 to $1,999 per week, 30.1 per cent paid for a mortgage compared to 31.2 per cent paying private market rent.

Housing stress disproportionately impacts households in the bottom 40 per cent of household incomes. In 2016 more than 52.4 per cent of ACT households with a total income of $999 per week or less and more than 18.1 per cent of ACT households with a total income of $1,000 to $1,999 per week were paying 30 per cent or more of their income on rent. More than 27.2 per cent of single parents with an income of $52,000 to $103,999—that is, single parents who are juggling paid work with raising children—who were living in a three-bedroom dwelling in the ACT were paying 30 per cent or more of their income on rent.

The Housing and Homelessness Policy Consortium found in 2014 that households in the bottom 40 per cent of household incomes were making significant compromises on other necessary expenses, such as food or health care, because of the high cost of housing.


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