Page 174 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 February 2010

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The ACT’s housing construction sector has been picking up pace across a time when the national supply of new housing has been struggling. In part that represents the ACT Government taking an earlier … interest in the necessity of getting more land released than has been evident in some other jurisdictions. More over, forward indicators of activity suggest more good news lies around the corner.

That is what Access Economics says about the ACT. The report highlights that the ACT’s strong economic performance is attributable to the strength of our housing market and the strong level of residential housing construction. Not a bad endorsement, is it, Mr Seselja?

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Is the Chief Minister aware of the HIA-Commonwealth Bank report which consistently looks at the impact of housing affordability on first home buyers? How does that rate the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: I am aware of the HIA-Commonwealth Bank statistics in relation to housing affordability, and you do need to understand the context—

Mr Seselja: Have a look at first home owners.

MR STANHOPE: Once again, it is the context in which the statistics actually are measured and whom they are measured against. They are measured against mortgages or loans of the Commonwealth Bank, a very small sector. It does not reflect what is happening—

Mr Seselja: A small sector—the Commonwealth Bank is a small sector?

MR STANHOPE: It is. The HIA-Commonwealth Bank affordability indicators are based on loans from the Commonwealth Bank across the board. They are not averaged out. You see it most recently in relation to the HIA-Commonwealth Bank median house price projections for the ACT, which actually are around about $70,000 or $80,000 above what is the actuality of the median house price here in the ACT. This is a direct response to the methodology employed by HIA-Commonwealth Bank in their predictions.

It goes to all of the housing affordability indicators, predictions or prognostications of HIA-Commonwealth Bank. It is a very diffident methodology. It is a methodology that actually does not reflect the actuality of housing starts across the board. It does not reflect the enormous activity that has been generated through our housing affordability action plan. The 15 per cent of all houses in greenfields estates in the ACT that are constructed for under $300,000 is not reflected in the HIA-Commonwealth Bank methodology or outcomes.

In the context of housing starts, housing loans, housing activity and the number of Canberra first home buyers who access the first home buyers grant, we do have the numbers and the ACT leads the nation again.

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