Australia

Urban Taskforce blames planning system for falling home ownership rates in Australia

A NEW report published by the Organisation for Cooperation and Development (OECD) has reported declining home ownership rates in Australia, with aggregate home ownership rates falling from 71.4 per cent in 1995 to 69.5 in 2003.

Property development industry group, Urban Taskforce, said the OECD research illustrated the high costs of Australia's housing undersupply, with Australia one of five countries among 18 examined where home ownership rates have fallen since the 1990s.

The OECD report also finds that home ownership rates in Australia would have been lower had it not been for an ageing population. A rise in the share of single-headed households over the sample period, however, was found to exert a downward influence on aggregate home ownership rates.

Urban Taskforce Chief Executive, Aaron Gadiel, blamed the decline in home ownership rates on Australia's national housing undersupply of 200,000 dwellings.

He said that planning laws, high development levies and lack of urban infrastructure investment "have deprived Australia of the housing we need."

"We can see the social cost of Australia's severe housing undersupply," Mr Gadiel said, adding that Australia has a problem that is shared by few other developed countries.

"Our citizens are losing the ability to have a home of their own, while in other countries more people are enjoying the benefits of home ownership," he said.

Calling for a comprehensive response to the growing home ownership crisis, Mr Gadiel said that federal, state and local governments have not given the issue the priority it deserves.

The OECD report, Drivers of Home Ownership Rates in Selected OECD Countries, OECD Economics Department Working Papers No. 849, is available from the OECD website at <http://www.oecd.org/>.

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