Industry voicesNewsNews In Brief

Property Council of Australia responds to Federal Budget 2024

Property Council of Australia: 'Capping number of international students will not solve housing crisis'

The Property Council of Australia has responded to the 2024 Federal Budget and Budget in Reply.

The Council has warned that legislation capping the number of international students will not solve Australia’s housing crisis. 

A report released last month by the Student Accommodation Council showed international students only make up 4 per cent of the rental market Australia wide.

Read the new Autumn print edition of AccomNews HERE

Further, the report found that students preferred to live in student accommodation and apartments in CBDs – not in the suburban family homes sought after by the average Australian renter.

“The plan to slash student numbers will tank the international education sector – which is worth $49 billion annually and is Australia’s largest service export – for the sake of four per cent of the rental market,” Student Accommodation Council executive director Torie Brown said

“If we remove international students from our CBDs we will have a lot of empty student accommodation buildings and a lot of struggling small businesses, but we won’t be adding a large amount of rental homes back into the market for Australian families.”

“International students have been unfairly blamed for the rental crisis, when long term structural issues in Australia’s housing market are the real cause for rental pressures. We need to look at the broad spectrum of issues driving up rent and reducing the supply of homes, rather than blaming a single cohort,” she said.

“International students are living in, spending money in, and supporting our CBDs that are still struggling with office workers who have not fully returned post-Covid.”

“International students are also temporary migrants. They come over, they study, and the vast majority of them go home. They are after the flexible short-term rental options offered by student accommodation, they are not trying to buy homes in the suburbs.”

Anouk Darling, Chair of the Student Accommodation Council said: “the key to maintaining a sustainable and prosperous education sector, is our ability to house students in accommodation that suits their needs, is safe and conveniently located. And we know the fastest way for universities to add the student accommodation they need is to partner with the private sector.”

Property Council of Australia would welcome a boost to construction industry through skilled visas

However, the Property Council cautiously welcomed the emphasis on boosting construction skills in Australia’s immigration mix to help increase the supply of new homes as outlined in Peter Dutton’s Budget in Reply.

The Coalition made a construction pledge that it will ‘ensure there are enough skilled and temporary skilled visas for those with building and construction skills to support our local tradies to build the homes we need’, while it plans to reduce the number of permanent migrants to 140,000 and to cut the number of international students. 

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Mike Zorbas said while an intelligent reduction in the immigration level below 500,000 people per year makes sense, an emphasis on the skills needed to support our ageing population and fill the large gaps across key industries must be a priority.

“The key to balancing migration policy is to focus on skills rather than overall numbers,” Mr Zorbas said.

“We have consistently supported a targeted reduction to overall migration numbers from the post-pandemic peak, but the key to addressing housing affordability remains increasing the total number of new homes we build. We need faster zoning, approvals and last mile infrastructure but most of all we need the people who will build our cities.

“The stark reality is that only 1.8 per cent of migrants coming into the country over the past twenty years have arrived with the construction skills we desperately need, and with ambitious housing goals ahead of us, we must boost that number.”

The Property Council also noted the Coalition’s plan to implement a two-year ban on foreign investors and temporary residents purchasing existing homes in Australia. 

“The sensible carve-out for new homes recognises the importance of global investment to support new housing supply,” Mr Zorbas said.

“The only way to properly address the nation’s housing deficit is to build more homes using domestic and global investment and to do this we need to improve investment settings, incentivise housing approvals and fix broken state planning systems, and boost high quality housing options including retirement living, purpose-built student accommodation and build-to-rent housing,” he said.

Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
WP Tumblr Auto Publish Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x