WA Election: REIWA calls on incoming Labor Govt to address housing affordability

REIWA president Hayden Groves.
REIWA president Hayden Groves.

THE Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) has called on the incoming WA Labor Government to look at ways to address housing affordability.

“In particular, Labor needs to look at the negative effect state property taxes, like transfer duty and land tax aggregation rules, have on the buying and investing decisions of the WA public, and work towards finding more sustainable state revenue sources,” president Hayden Groves said.

“We recently surveyed WA property seekers about the impact state property taxes have on their lives and 90 per cent of respondents said these taxes were a barrier to them owning or investing in property.

“Clearly this is a key issue for West Australians and needs to be addressed.”

In the lead up to the election, REIWA campaigned for four key policy reforms:

– No increases to state property taxes

– Abolish land tax aggregation rules

– Transfer duty exemption for “right sizing”

– Transfer duty concession for off-the-plan transactions

Prior to the election, the WA Labor did not commit to property tax reform, instead announcing a 4 per cent tax on foreign buyers.

At the time, Mr Groves labelled the announcement “political point scoring”, and believed the tax was likely to have repercussions in an already soft market.

“Foreign investment in WA represents a very small proportion of the market and this type of misguided policy will dampen the incentive for foreigners who are not permanent residents to locate and live in WA,” he said.

“In the longer term, the impact of this surcharge on foreign investment will be felt by tenants, who will bear the brunt of increased weekly rent prices due to lowered stock levels.”

Mr Groves said REIWA understood the tough fiscal position facing the new government, however its scenario analysis showed the proposed reforms had the potential to have a positive impact on the state budget.

“REIWA will continue to advocate for our members and the WA public on their key housing concerns, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with the new McGowan Government,” he said.