REIT wants more done on affordable housing

HOUSING CRISIS: The scheme is one of multiple housing policies on the way, according to Housing Minister Roger Jaensch.
HOUSING CRISIS: The scheme is one of multiple housing policies on the way, according to Housing Minister Roger Jaensch.

The state government’s rental incentive scheme will have minimal effect on the housing crisis in the long-run, according to the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania.

The government will offer between $10,000 and $13,000 for real estate investors to rent out their properties  to low-income earners for a guaranteed 12-month period as a part of the scheme. 

REIT president Tony Collidge said he was in favour of the policy, but in the long-term it would be akin to “ just moving the deck chairs on the Titanic”. 

Housing Minister Roger Jaensch defended the initiative, saying it is intended as a short-term fix while the government rolls out other affordable housing policies

“This is one of many initiatives we are rolling out to address the issue of housing stress around Tasmania,” he said.

“The REIT launched the scheme with the government – they are supportive and have worked with us on its development.”

Further details of the initiative were announced on Friday, with news that more than 200 people had submitted registrations of interest.

We already have a private [housing] system under strain and it’s just adding to it by taking stock out of the sector and putting it somewhere else.

REIT president Tony Collidge

Mr Collidge said the scheme would attract some Airbnb hosts to take-up the scheme, however it was not sufficient to address the affordable housing supply woes the state faced.

“We already have a private [housing] system under strain and it’s just adding to it by taking stock out of the sector and putting it somewhere else,” he said.

“It may attract some people from Airbnb, but the critical issue is how do we increase housing stock.

“It needs to be through new construction.”

Property Council executive director Brian Wightman said the government needed to streamline the building approvals process to increase construction activity around the state. 

“The substantial delays and onerous requirements for the necessary approvals beyond the planning permit are having a substantial impact,” he said.

Mr Jaensch said the government planned to implement legislation reform that would “provide for faster approvals and more flexible forms of housing, including shop-top development”.