Affordability, access key issues with housing

Housing has become an election issue with some new policies announced to address affordability and access.

To understand the actions you need to improve housing, you must know the demographic you are delivering to.

Tasmania has a low disposable income compared to other states, yet has a high rate of home ownership. 

The 2016 Census shows more people work part time in Tasmania (35 per cent) compared to the national average (30.4 per cent). Tasmania also has less people who work full time (52.3 per cent) compared to the national average (57.7 per cent).

More Tasmanian own their homes outright (35.7 per cent) compared to the national figure (31 per cent).  Mortgages were more closely aligned with 33.5 per cent in Tasmania and 34.5 per cent nationally.

The census also showed that the median rent had increased from $200 to $230 since 2011.  And 89.8 per cent of those paying rent spent 30 per cent or less of their income to rent.

About a quarter of Tasmanian households have gross income of $650 or below.

Those figures show we have two interesting issues to tackle.

Firstly, is to ensure all Tasmanians have access to crisis and affordable rentals. Housing is one of the 10 focuses for TasCOSS throughout the election. Affordable and crisis housing has been addressed by Labor with its policy focusing on crisis accommodation and public housing.

Secondly, is to help make the Australian dream come true for many Tasmanians to own their own home. This presents its own challenges with demand versus supply and current hot property market for Hobart and Launceston. 

The Liberal Party has addressed these issues through reduced stamp duty on properties priced up to $400,000 for first-home buyers and land tax waived over a three-year period for new housing developments that will be rented for a minimum of 12 months.

Housing in Tasmania must have a two-pronged approach in terms of incentives and assistance, as well working alongside key areas such as health and education.

Those who need affordable rentals, with the right support, will eventually become home owners and some of those will go on to be investors in rental properties.

If we can get this cycle right and balanced with our economy and industries, then all Tasmanians will win.

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