Home ownership still unaffordable in Western Australia

Shelter WA has welcomed a new report that adds to the growing body of evidence that housing affordability issues are linked to a range of key economic reforms that have been implemented during the last twenty years.

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Homelessness Week 2017


9,600 people experience homelessness every night in WA

7,000 people are living in insecure housing and just

one step away from homelessness.

Now is the time to end homelessness, not just manage it!

Homelessness Week (HW) is led by Homelessness Australia and in this State, led by Shelter WA with funding from Lotterywest and the Department of Communities.  Homelessness Week aims to raise awareness about homelessness, with the ultimate objective of ending homelessness.

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Affordability and diversity a significant issue for Perth’s private rental sector

A new rental affordability study has highlighted the challenges very low and low income households face in Perth’s private rental sector.

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New strata reforms to support new and diverse housing in WA


                Monday, 22 May 2017

Shelter WA congratulates the Western Australian Labor Government for taking steps to reform strata title in Western Australia.

The Government recently announced it supported the drafting of legislation to reform strata title in WA.

It said the move is the first major shake-up of strata title legislation in 20 years and comes after significant growth in strata living throughout the State.

Labor said the reforms will deliver new development options that will drive economic growth in WA and build vibrant communities. 

Shelter WA is supportive of the new strata title reforms.

“These reforms will enable greater flexibility of land use which will assist with providing a good supply of diverse and affordable housing,” Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said.

“These reforms will support transit-orientated development, along and close to transport routes, which Shelter WA has supported for many years.

“Through these changes, there is an opportunity to provide more diverse and affordable housing that meets the need of a changing population.”

Recent research released by Shelter WA, REIWA and the Housing Authority shows there is a lack of diversity in housing stock in the Perth metropolitan area with more than 70 per cent of homes having three or more bedrooms.

“These reforms are important to the future housing needs of WA, and will assist with the renewal of WA’s ageing housing stock, ” Mr Hall said.

“Although the planned changes will introduce safeguards for the termination of schemes, Shelter WA would like to see greater detail on how this will occur.

“Shelter WA want to see that the termination of schemes is done in a fair and equitable manner.”


Media Contact – Stephen Hall, Shelter WA, 9325 6660.


Changes to the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) missing the mark

The Western Australian Labor Government should be looking at stamp duty, rather than the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) if it wants to improve budget sustainability and improve housing affordability. 

Treasurer and Finance Minister Ben Wyatt this week (17 May, 2017) announced the temporary boost to the first home owner grant would stop on June 30, 2017. 

The boost, announced by the previous government in December 2016, increased the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) payment from $10,000 to $15,000 on the purchases of new homes.

It had previously been scheduled to cease on December 31, 2017.

Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said if the State government was serious about budget repair, together with long-term sustainable funding sources, it should move from taxing first home buyers with stamp duty to a broad-based land tax.

“The FHOG is meant to assist with housing affordability,” Mr Hall said.

“However, moving from stamp duty will be more effective for first and all home buyers.

“As WA’s population ages, this would be an effective response to support seniors to downsize, and free up housing stock throughout the State.

“Stamp duty has widely been recognised to have a detrimental impact on residential mobility, housing affordability and efficient use of the housing stock.

“Any move to a broad-based annual land tax will need to be phased-in to ensure those who have recently paid stamp duties aren’t unduly disadvantaged”

Mr Hall referred to a recent Australia Institute report about stamp duty calculations, on houses listed on www.realestate.com.au, to demonstrate that on average, stamp duty adds an additional $31,700 to the cost of a house in Perth (The Australia Institute, 2016).

Media Contact:  Stephen Hall, Shelter WA Spokesman   

(08) 9325 6660 or 0499770 245 or 0408426 263

 17 May 2017

Rents still not affordable for lower-income Western Australians

A new report has found rents are still not affordable for people on low incomes in Western Australia.

National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning recently released the Rental Affordability Index (RAI).

The index, which is released on a biannual basis, is an indicator of rental affordability compared with household incomes.

“It is clear Western Australia is seeing a marked improvement in rental affordability, which is good news,” Shelter WA spokesman Stephen Hall said.

“However, the RAI is based on Western Australian households with an income of $85,000, and it is a much different picture for those people living under those incomes.

“For people on income support, for instance the Newstart allowance, rental properties are still extremely unaffordable.

“Also for people on very low incomes, which is less than 50 per cent of the median income of $85,000, most of Western Australia, including the city, remote, rural, and regional areas, remains unaffordable.

Shelter WA wants to see the development of more social housing to support Western Australians doing it tough.

“With more than 18,500 people on the social housing wait list in Western Australia and with an average wait time of three years, the housing needs of Western Australians who are most in need are not being met,” Mr Hall said.

“A key solution is to also encourage the development of more diverse and affordable private sector housing to meet the needs of Western Australians

“Increasing supports, such as Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA), can also raise the capacity of households on low incomes, so they can actively participate in society, and contribute back to the economy.”

Fact Box

• Western Australia is the only Australian jurisdiction where average household incomes for households that rent their accommodation are higher in regional areas than in metropolitan Perth.

• When housing is unaffordable, low income households pay a large proportion of their income on rent, often foregoing basic necessities. If this cannot be sustained, it can lead to homelessness.

• With over 18,500) people on the Housing Authority wait list and an average wait time of three years, the housing needs of Western Australians most in need are not being met.

• The average household that rents accommodation in greater Perth pays 21 per cent of its total income on rent – the most affordable of all the metropolitan areas in Australia.

• Some areas north of the river remain unaffordable to severely unaffordable, while some urban pockets can be further considered moderately unaffordable.

Please see the Rental Affordability Index (RAI)


Please see Rental Affordability Index (RAI) map.



Media Contact:  Stephen Hall, Shelter WA Spokesman   

(08) 9325 6660 or 0499770 245 or 0408426 263


16 May 2017

Superannuation is not for home deposits, it’s for retirement.

Allowing Australians to access their superannuation funds, for a home deposit, is not only unsound economically, it could place young people at risk of living in poverty when they become seniors.


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Government must not miss the opportunity for real housing reform

Shelter WA is urging the Federal Government not to waste the chance to reform the tax treatment of housing, which would ensure more Australians could access affordable housing.


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Federal Government to support the development of social housing

The Federal Treasurer has signalled the May budget will have a range of policy measures designed to tackle housing affordability, both for renters and for first home buyers. This includes the possible creation of a new Affordable Housing Finance Corporation to inject hundreds of millions of dollars investment in community housing. 

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New research shows rental market issues for tenants

A survey conducted with more than 1,000 renters, throughout Australia, proves that many have little security of tenure and some households are living in poorly maintained housing, potentially detrimental to their health.

New data released by Choice, National Shelter and National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO) shows more people are renting than ever before, and many face significant challenges in the rental market.

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