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Calls for urgent housing action
Released 21 March 2011

Mortgage Choice CEO Michael Russell has welcomed the findings of the Productivity Commission report which identify the cause of deteriorating housing affordability.   

“Australians deserve transparent, effective housing decisions to be made quickly and regularly in the interests of turning around the deterioration of affordability,” Russell said.
In April 2010, following the second annual National Housing Supply Council report, Russell called for urgent, significant improvements to development approval and planning assessment processes to boost the supply of housing. The desired outcomes are an increase in the supply of affordable housing and a downward pressure on housing prices.

“We call on the Federal Minister for Housing to accept the conclusions of both reports [Productivity Commission and National Housing Supply Council] and open up a much more productive, consultative communication channel with the state Planning Ministers to take immediate action to resolve the true cause of housing affordability. The real issues are problems with sufficient land release, development approval processes and development costs,” he said.

Russell said undersupply is the barricade, not interest rates.

“The latest Productivity Commission report findings are long overdue; much-needed improvements must be actioned ASAP.

“Increasing the supply of residential properties in the low to medium price range will deliver a reduction in pricing pressure.

“We need to dissolve the rolls of red tape that limit the supply of land for development. We need to implement timeframes for rezoning and planning amendments to improve the development approval process. We need to formulate planning guides so developers can be confident in their due diligence and, finally, we need to include automatic zoning of land for ‘urban use’ to save time releasing land.”