Page 2329 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013

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This record level of land release across the Gungahlin, Belconnen and Molonglo districts provides greater choice for new homebuyers and has coincided with stabilisation in dwelling prices, which have risen by less than the consumer price index in the last three years.

Despite the ongoing levels of high population growth, driven by natural increase and interstate and overseas migration, it is estimated that the unmet demand that created pressure on housing markets has contracted from the position where we were about 8,000 dwellings short in 2010 to the position where we were 870 dwellings short in March 2013. A lot of these measures do, however, mask ongoing challenges at the lower price end of the market.

In addition to the many dwellings that have already been made available since 2007 as part of the government’s affordable home purchase initiatives, we are very keen to see 20 per cent of homes in future greenfield areas continue to be set aside for affordable home purchase. In order to continue this momentum in the housing sector, a new four-year indicative residential land release program proposes 18,000 dwelling sites over the four years. It is assumed that there will be some private sector supply of land over this period. We are very keen to see these new policy settings in place, so tomorrow I will be bringing legislation into the Assembly in relation to the first home owner grant.

In the time that remains, it is important to stress that the retargeting of the first home owner grant does not just include greenfield estates; it also provides the opportunity for purchases in urban renewal locations. Just a quick look on certain real estate websites provides dozens of property opportunities under the thresholds. Kingston, Belconnen, Northbourne Avenue, Harrison, Franklin, Dunlop, Phillip, Dickson, Wright, Harrison, Holt, Lyneham and Crace all have properties on the market that would be eligible for both the grant and the homebuyer concession. There are options right across the city. We want to encourage more. Over the next few years we want to see the construction sector busy adding to the supply of housing in Canberra, because that will put downward pressure on prices and on rents.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.25): I thank Mr Coe, Mr Rattenbury and Mr Barr for their contributions this evening. I also thank Mr Rattenbury for his amendments.

I take issue with Mr Coe’s statements around the substance of this motion. In particular, I am not sure that he was really listening when I said that the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s latest housing affordability report says that the proportion of average household income needed to service the average mortgage is 18.7 per cent in Canberra compared to the national average of 34 per cent. Was I supposed to construe from what he said that the Real Estate Institute of Australia is not a reputable organisation? I simply do not know, Mr Assistant Speaker.

Mr Coe got a bit confused about the first home owner scheme and said that it was not available to do renovations, when in actual fact it is, and that really is not an adequate criticism of that scheme at all. Then he pointed to the land release scheme, which, as the Treasurer has quite clearly articulated, is about providing additional supply to meet a stimulated demand. This is a fundamental step to ensure that we continue to

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