Budget 2024: Housing and affordability

The 2024 Federal Budget has elicited mixed reactions from real estate and housing bodies, reflecting both optimism and concerns about the impact on the housing sector.

The budget includes measures to address cost of living pressures, help for renters, and initiatives to build more homes. While these initiatives have been welcomed there is concern about how effectively they can be implemented by a sector already under strain, and whether the investment in social housing will sufficiently address broader market issues, such as rental costs and overall housing affordability.

Cost of living pressures and rental assistance

The budget helps renters and those facing cost of living pressures.

There’s a $300 rebate on energy bills for each household to alleviate some of the financial burden for households.

There’s also an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA), with $1.9 billion to be invested in this area to increase the maximum rate of CRA by an additional 10%. It’s thought this will help almost one million households experiencing the worst affordability problems.

Housing Pressures

The budget includes a further $6.2 billion investment in housing initiatives, part of the Homes for Australia Plan, which aims to expedite the construction of new homes to rent and to buy, and includes:

  • Infrastructure development: Funding for states and territories to build necessary infrastructure like roads, sewers, and energy facilities.
  • Social housing supply: Additional support up to $1.9 billion to increase the availability of social housing, through concessional finance for community housing providers and other charities.
  • Construction training programs: Investment in free training programs for an additional 20,000 building trade apprentices, from 2025, to address the skills shortage in the housing and construction industry.
  • Homelessness: Additional $9.3 billion homelessness funding through the new National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness.
  • Crisis accommodation: More support for crisis and transitional housing needs through $1 billion under the National Housing Infrastructure Facility for women and children affected by domestic violence, as well as for youth.
  • Tertiary accommodation: The Government has also committed to working with the higher education sector to increase dedicated student accommodation for domestic and international students. This initiative aims to reduce pressure on the private rental market.
  • Build to rent sector: Incentives offered to increase the supply of rental housing by improving taxation arrangements for investments in build-to-rent accommodation.

Overall, while there is appreciation for the budget's initiatives towards housing, there is a concern from industry, analysts and community, that more targeted actions and sustained support are necessary to effectively address Australia's housing supply and affordability issues.