Western Australia: Housing Supply Unit assembled to fix housing crisis

Western Australian Treasury is launching a specialised unit to tackle housing supply and direct the flow of billions of dollars in Commonwealth funding.

The formation of the Housing Supply Unit comes as Perth’s rental vacancy rate dropped to 0.7 per cent in September, according to data from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).

REIWA said a vacancy rate between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent typically represented a balanced market.

Treasurer Rita Saffioti announced the Housing Supply Unit at a Property Council WA breakfast on Tuesday, aiming for it to be operational by January.

“The unit will work with the residential building industry and property development sector to identify specific barriers to increasing supply and work with other agencies and government trading enterprises to address those barriers,” Ms Saffioti said in her address.

“This is the first time we have established a dedicated housing unit within the Department of Treasury, highlighting how important this issue is to our government.”

The move comes amid an Australia-wide housing crisis, with low housing supply coupled with the knock-on economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic causing rents and property prices to skyrocket.

According to the latest REIWA data, released on Monday, Perth’s median rental price has risen to $595 per week for September.

The Housing Supply Unit will report to the residential lands and housing delivery ministerial oversight committee and assist in making market forecasts that will in turn shape housing policy decisions.

It will also direct expected cash to come in from the federal government’s Housing Australia Future Fund, the New Home Bonus, Housing Support Program, and funding through Housing Australia.

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