How Can We Address Development When We Have 29 Councils?

The failure of our local government authorities to address the issue of amalgamation leaves the Government with little option but to establish three regional planning authorities under the umbrella of the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

Addressing Development to the 29 Councils

How real is it to expect a co-ordinated approach to development when we have 29 councils? It appears that discussions by a number of councils to amalgamate and/or create a more regional approach have evaporated. A greater Hobart council, bringing together larger southern councils would have gone some way towards co-ordinating the multitude of planning issues that need to be addressed.

When the framework for the current planning legislation was established in 1993, it was decided to leave planning with individual councils and give oversight and final approval of the schemes to the State Planning Commission. The role of the commission is to manage and report on changes to planning schemes, review draft management plans, advise and support the planning and local government minister and councils, support strategic planning projects.

The State Planning Commission now oversees the planning schemes of 29 councils. It has divided the state into three regions with Regional Land Use Strategies setting out long term planning goals for these three regions:North-West (Cradle Coast) includes Burnie City, Central Coast, Circular Head, Devonport City, Kentish, King Island, Latrobe, Waratah-Wynyard, and West Coast.

North: Break O’Day, Dorset, Flinders, George Town, Launceston City, Meander Valley, Northern
Midlands, and West Tamar.

South: Brighton, Central Highlands, Clarence City, Derwent Valley, Glamorgan Spring Bay, Glenorchy City, Hobart City, Huon Valley, Kingborough, Sorell, Southern Midlands and Tasman.

For example, a regional plan may indicate how much land needs to be made available for housing, transport and industrial purposes. Each local government planning scheme must be consistent with that Regional Land Use Strategy. Strategies can be amended but it is the minister’s responsibility to keep the three strategies under regular review.

The Challenges

The difficulties with the present system are the lack of a collaborative approach to regional issues across the three tiers of government and lack of co-ordination across each government’s agencies. The legislation is clear that local government planning schemes must be consistent with the regional land use strategies. However, since the gazettal of the southern strategy by minister Bryan Green in 2013, the only action has been some motherhood statements and little action to implement any strategies.

There is little disagreement that regional planning is critical for proper development. Prior to the state election, the Southern Regional Council even released a report on its regional priorities. These included asking for a formalised framework and systematic approach for the maintenance and review of the Southern Tasmanian Regional Land Use Strategy. On southern transport issues the report said an integrated approach looking at car transit, freight movement and public transport including buses, light rail and ferries is needed to fix this problem. It appears little or no planning work has been done on how to actually address this across its 12 councils. As settlements around greater Hobart expand, this problem is only going to increase. It is imperative there is a collaborative approach encompassing all three tiers of government and multiple agencies. This means a Greater Hobart Transport Plan to identify a long-term plan and solutions to fix these bottlenecks.

Despite admissions by the Southern Regional Council Authority changes are needed. There is no easy means of implementing any of these recommendations when 12 councils have to agree.

The failure by councils to co-ordinate and address these issues over the years brings me to the conclusion that the only solution is to transfer all planning authority from 29 local councils to three regional authorities, as we have already done to provide better water and sewerage management.

Source:  John Cleary was a state Liberal minister and MP for Franklin. He introduced the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993.

Abolishing Land Tax

A Hodgman Liberal Government will…
Introduce an immediate, fairer Land Tax rebate, cap bills at this year’s level and then progressively cut land tax from 2011‐12 over an eight-year period until it is abolished.

Land Tax is an unfair tax which is a drag on the Tasmanian economy. It affects all Tasmanians, as it is passed on in the services and goods we purchase and the rents that are paid. It stifles investment, costs jobs and has brought some businesses to the brink of failure.

The New Policy for Land Tax

Labor’s recently announced changes have not delivered the abolition of Land Tax that Tasmanians deserve, and they have bungled the implementation by rushing the changes for the purposes of political expediency.

In our alternative budget delivered last year, we were the first party to accept the challenge of addressing Land Tax.

This policy supersedes that policy and improves on Labor’s recently announced changes, as we will immediately introduce a fairer Land Tax rebate, and then from 2011‐12 progressively abolish Land Tax, over eight years.

We will:

  1. Introduce a new, fairer Land Tax rebate this financial year for ALL landowners with land valued at more than $350,000. Unlike Labor, the rebate will not just be for businesses ‐ it will be for every Tasmanian who has paid Land Tax on property valued at more than $350,000 in 2009‐10.
  2. Cap the Land Tax revenue collected by Government in 2009‐10 after the effect of the rebate has been allowed for.
  3. Freeze Land Tax bills in 2010‐11 at adjusted 2009‐10 levels, removing the need for future valuations to occur while introducing concessions for shack owners, first home builders and microbusinesses.
  4. Cut Land Tax by 5% in 2011‐12 and by 10% in 2012‐13.
  5. Keep cutting Land Tax every year until it is completely abolished over eight years from 2011‐12, pumping $24 million back into the Tasmanian economy over the next four years alone.

What the Liberals will do:

1.  A new, fair Land Tax rebate

Under Labor, only businesses are entitled to the rebate.

Their policy immediately gives money back to some, while not giving money back to others like self‐funded retirees and people who earn their income by renting properties.

Labor’s initial 17-page application form has been replaced by a new 15-page version which is still time-consuming, costly, and may result in some small businesses missing out on the rebate altogether because the onerous process is a disincentive to landlords to claim the rebate.

The simplest and fairest way to fix this farce is to extend the rebate to all taxpayers who have paid Land Tax on property valued at over $350,000, and that is what a Hodgman Liberal Government will do.

This will mean that there will be no lengthy forms, no onerous conditions, no hours spent slaving over paperwork.

Under the Liberals, the rebate will be available to all Land Taxpayers with property valued at more than $350,000 so that Tasmanians will effectively only pay a maximum of 1.5% per cent Land Tax on land valued at above $350,000.

The concessions already announced for shack owners, micro‐businesses and first home builders will start on 1 July 2010, in the same way, it would under Labor.

2.  Cap and cut

A Hodgman Liberal Government will abolish Land Tax. Starting on 1 July 2010, we will put into place our plan to cap Land Tax, then progressively cut it. No more surprise increases in Land Tax. No more guessing about whether a new valuation will put you out of business or force you to sell your family shack. In fact, by cutting Land Tax, a Hodgman Liberal Government will pump nearly $24 million back into the economy over the next four years.

All of the recently announced changes to Land Tax will be honoured by a Hodgman Liberal Government. Next year, all Land Tax payers will begin to benefit from our plan to abolish Land Tax as a result of having their bills frozen at adjusted 2009‐10 levels – including those with property valued at less than $350,000.

This means no further increases, which means every taxpayer will save in 2010‐11. This is the starting point for our cap and cut policy. Every year after that Land Tax will be cut, meaning that over the eight years from 2011‐12, Land Tax will be abolished.

There will be no more revaluations. No more shock Land Tax bills in the mail. In fact, from 1 July 2010, Land Tax bills will only go down, until they are eventually gone for good.

  • Land Tax will be capped at the adjusted level of your 2009‐10 bill;
  • Because we are capping Land Tax, property revaluations for Land Tax purposes will not be needed;
  • Land Tax bills will then be reduced from 2011‐12 every year for eight years until Land Tax is abolished;
  • This means that Land Taxpayers will receive a reduction of between 15% and 40% during the first term of a Hodgman Liberal Government;
  • Under Labor, Land Tax bills will continue to go up;
  • All Land Taxpayers, whether they be a small business, big business, investors, shack owners or first home builders will benefit under the cap and cut plan;
  • New land entering the system will be taxed at the same rate as similarly valued land.

Why this policy is needed:

Land Tax has progressively become more and more of a burden for Tasmanians. It is unacceptable that just one Labor Government tax could damage a number of businesses in Tasmania, drive away investment, cause families to sell their shacks and compromise their way of life and restrict the economy from reaching its full potential.

In the last 12 months alone, 8,100 jobs have disappeared in Tasmania. Our unemployment rate has gone from 4.4% to 5.5% and our economy ‐ far from being the best in the country ‐ desperately needs a shot in the arm.

Abolishing Land Tax will go a long way to helping the economy recover. It will encourage people to invest in Tasmania. Moreover, it will give businesses the certainty and financial incentive they need to expand and employ more people. Aso, it will help self-funded retirees keep their head above water. Furthermore, it will provide relief to the mum and dad investors who entered the property market as a way of providing a better future for their families.

Best of all, over the next four financial years, it will allow $24 million to be re‐invested into the Tasmanian economy – and that’s just the start. Over time, Tasmanians won’t have to pay any Land Tax at all.

After more than 11 years of Labor:

In 1997‐98, Tasmanians paid $25.9 million in Land Tax. In 2009‐10, the Government collected $94 million – a staggering 263 per cent increase. This is money that could be used to boost the Tasmanian economy. This is money that could be used by Tasmanians to invest in their families, their small businesses or the economy in general.

More than that, the Labor Government’s approach to Land Tax has been a massive drag on employment, business, and the economy. Land Tax was introduced to make sure land was being developed. However, under Labor, they have turned it into an impost on the community and a way to prop up their big spending ways.

Only a Hodgman Liberal Government will be able to manage the economy so that this unfair tax can be capped and cut, and eventually abolished.

TOTAL COST: $24 million over 4 years*

*After savings measures, such as reducing the need for increased funding for the Valuer‐General, are taken into account.

Comparison of land tax bills under the Liberals and Labor


Tasmanian Liberals, Will Hodgman MP

Financial Disincentives and Lack of Appropriate Housing Thwarting Senior Downsizing

Seniors wanting to downsize their homes are being stopped by financial disincentives and a lack of age-appropriate housing, research from the national seniors productive ageing centre has found.

Around 30 per cent of seniors surveyed were considering downsizing, which, on a national scale, equated to one million people, according to Mary Wood, executive director of the Retirement Living Council, “but many are unable to due to barriers put in place by governments”.

Downsizing has the benefits of reduced energy consumption, lower maintenance, more equity for health costs and a more efficient use of housing stock.

While the major barrier to moving cited in the survey was the effort involved, next on the list were stamp duty, then inclusions of the proceeds from the sale of seniors’ homes in the Age Pension Assets Test, as well as a lack of available age appropriate housing.

Of people considering moving to a smaller residence, the most common reasons reported in the survey were not being physically able to maintain the home and the cost of maintaining the home or yard.

“we encourage the federal government to remove penalties on age pensioners who wish to downsize and support the desire of many seniors to live independently in smaller home built for their needs. The grab-rails on wall and other mobility-enhancing features” Ms Wood said.

“Removing disincentives would reduce the number of senior Australians who feel “trapped” in an unsuitable home which reduces their quality of life”

A recent Productivity Commission report on preparing for an ageing Australia agreed that stamp duty was a major disincentive for downsizing housing.

“The Henry Tax review found stamp duties were [particularly inefficient taxes and should be replaced by other taxation measures. Doing so would lessen disincentives for people to downsize their housing as they are”, the report stated

Ageing population intensifying the issue

The results from the survey are worrying, as Australia is dealing with an ageing population. The number of people aged 75 or more years is expected to rise by four million between 2012 to 2060, increasing from about 6.4 to 14.4 per cent of the population. Currently 27 per cent of people aged 70 years and over live alone.

“Policy interventions to reduce financial barriers, such as the pensioner Duty Concession Scheme in the Australian Capital Territory and the pilot scheme proposed by the Labor Government in 2013, may help encourage downsizing but, given the range of factors that influence people to downsize, these would be most effective if coordinated with other incentives such as housing that is suitable in terms of accessibility, size, affordability and location and incentives to promote independent living “the survey report stated”.

Strong preference to stay in big homes
National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said while there were barriers to downsizing, the results showed most seniors had a strong preference to rain in larger homes.

“policymakers talk of seniors downsizing and freeing up family-sized home but it seems older Australians aren’t so keen to do so” Mr O’Neill Said

“considering the lack of policy incentives to downsize and the strong emotional attachment all Australians have to their family home, these finding are hardly surprising.”

He said policy interventions to reduce financial barriers and a commitment to address the lack of age-appropriate housing in Australia could increase the incentive to downsize, however.


Cameron Jewell

Smarter Small Home

When 30-year veteran of the property and real estate industry Kevin Doodney thought about the housing affordability problem in Australia, he knew there had to be a solution. The Smarter Small Home™ is the affordable concept home that was the result of his vision – and chutzpah.

The Rich History of Smarter Small Home

While Doodney was the catalyst for the project, the result is the product of an entire team. Spearheading the design smarts was designer Brett Black low. Doodney and Black low had met 15 years before and had since collaborated on a number of projects.

The pair agreed that their goal was to build an affordable home, defined as one costing around $300,000 for house and land package. With land often representing at least half the total cost of a home and land package, they knew a small lot size was crucial. They decided on a lot size of 10 meters by 30 meters; the challenge then was to design a livable, sustainable and affordable home on it.

The Smarter Small Home was the result.

The Smarter Small Home Characteristics


It’s livable because the double-story construction minimizes the building footprint without sacrificing inside living area and leaving a sizable yard for outdoor entertaining and activities. Inside, no space is wasted and many do ‘double duty.’


The Smarter Small Home is also sustainable – it has a 5.5-star energy rating, uses a range of low-embodied-energy materials and smart power-saving devices to minimize homeowners’ running costs.

In addition, James Hardie asked Climate Friendly* to measure the carbon footprint of The Smarter Small Home. It found that significantly less CO2 was used to manufacture the materials used in the home, as well as to actually construct it, than that in a traditionally built home. Climate Friendly also found that the energy intensity was much lower than in a traditionally built home.

Very affordable

However, there are other homes that are livable and sustainable. The heart of the Smarter Small Home is its affordability. Here are the key ingredients to cost-effective construction that The Smarter Small Home embodies.

Design to fit, not cut to fit

Black low went looking for a number of key economical materials first, and then designed the structure of the house and floor plate around them. “Typically no-one approaches it like that. The builder or designer comes up with a floor plan, and then he works out how to make it stand up,” Black low says.

Black low feels this is a recipe for adding all sorts of costs that aren’t immediately obvious into a building because the designer or builder has to make the structure work. His approach means the design of rooms, heights and walls are to the size of materials available and any off cuts that are generated are re-used elsewhere in the design. This also helps minimize waste.

Black low feels this is a recipe for adding all sorts of costs that aren’t immediately obvious into a building because the designer or builder has to make the structure work. His approach means the design of rooms, heights and walls are to the size of materials available and any off cuts that are generated are re-used elsewhere in the design. This also helps minimize waste.

Minimize installation steps, and multiple trades Often, time is money, which means maximizing the speed of construction. A key way to achieve this is to select products that can be installed and simply finished; ones that involve the least number of construction layers.


For example, Black low chose an all-in-one Bondor® sandwich panel for the roof, which meant the roof was fully installed in half a day. “One product turns up to the site,” he says. “When it’s finished, we have our roof structure, insulation, sheeting, ceiling structure, and finished ceiling. Instead of having a scaffold up for two or three weeks, it’s all done in half a day.”

The sub-floor is another area where layers were reduced. Twenty-two steel screw-in piers were used instead of brick piers and joists or the traditional slab on ground. “While screw-in piers have been around for ages, hardly anyone uses them,” Black low says. “The beauty of them is that we don’t have to come out and make a flat area and we don’t have to dig or pour footings and box up the slab. We just screw these things into the ground, we put the posts on that afternoon, and on day two we start installing the floor framing.”

“Many of James Hardie’s products are sheet products, and so a carpenter can cover an area of three square meters in 10 minutes. So we’ve chosen products that cover a big bit of area when they go on,” Black low says. After installation, they usually need to be painted.

Choose highly flexible cladding to maximize repeatability

A key driver of the affordability of development versus that of a single home is building the same floor plan. “When we’re doing this we want to make the outside of these homes look as different as possible, while still being essentially the same,” says Black low.

“The thing I’d say about these [James Hardie®] products is that you can give me one standard flat sheet like HardieFlex™, and I can give you five or six different finishes. It can be done without texturing or anything like that, but through using vertical or horizontal battens, or smooth ones or really protruding ones. These products just have a bucket load of flexibility at a really affordable price,” he says.

After researching exterior cladding materials, Black low and the team concluded that there is “nothing that can touch a few of the James Hardie products price-wise.”

The Small Smarter Home™ Case Book by James Hardie

Hobart Nosedives to Australia’s Least Affordable Capital to Rent

Media Release by Brotherhood of St Laurence, Shelter, SGS, Community Sector Banking… with income growth failing to meet soaring prices

Hobart has nosedived to become Australia’s least affordable capital city to rent, with income growth failing to meet soaring rents, according to the May Rental Affordability Index (RAI).The RAI is a price index for housing rental markets released biannually by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics & Planning. It’s an indicator of rental affordability relative to household incomes.

With an RAI of 102 in the December quarter, greater Hobart is now the least affordable capital city in Australia – knocking Sydney from its perch. Rents in Hobart are now unaffordable to even average income households.

“The latest Rental Affordability Index shows the rental crisis continues. Financial stress, overcrowding and insecurity are the everyday reality of working families,” Ellen Witte, Partner at SGS Economics and Planning said.

“The results for Hobart are a real wake-up call,” Witte said. “There has been a single-minded focus on population growth, but a complete lack of vision of where this growth needs to go and how all households are going to be accommodated. Renting households, many of them working families, are now paying the price.”

Adrian Pisarski, Executive Officer at National Shelter said that while there has been some slight improvement in some capitals, the situation has not improved at all for low income households.

“For Households below the median income rental affordability remains a real problem while for households on moderate and low wages and benefits we have a genuine crisis in rental affordability,” Pisarski said. “The situation in Hobart is alarming with Hobart overtaking Sydney as the least affordable place to rent in the country.”

“The latest RAI shows the serious need for a state and national housing plan – without action, lower income earners will be forced from our cities and capitals like Sydney will lose vital workers, like those in hospitality,” said Andrew Cairns, CEO of Community Sector Banking.

Conny Lenneberg, Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, said the data reflected the struggles of low income renters the Brotherhood worked with in outer suburbs of major cities and regional areas.

This is the first release of the Rental Affordability Index since the Brotherhood of St Laurence joined SGS Economics & Planning, National Shelter and Community Sector Banking as a sponsor.

“This study shows the depths of the housing crisis facing Australian renters on low incomes,” Lenneberg said. “People are facing deep challenges securing affordable housing in the private rental market, pushed further and further away from the areas from where the jobs are located.’’

“For some vulnerable people who are unemployed, the combination of very low rates of Newstart – as little as $38.98 a day for a single unemployed person – and rising rents for even modest accommodation, is proving unbearable. The consequence is that people are being pushed into homelessness.”

The decline in affordability is being driven by low incomes and a lack of rental housing. In Tasmania, household incomes are significantly lower than the national average, while rents are comparable to mainland averages.

The average household in Hobart faces rents at 29% of total income, putting it on the verge of housing stress – when it becomes difficult to afford essentials, like food and healthcare.

And the problem is spreading – areas such as Margate and Sorell are also now unaffordable to median households.

The situation is most dire for those on lower incomes.

A single pensioner faces severely unaffordable rents at 44% of income, while pensioner couples faces rents at 32% of income, which is deemed unaffordable.

It’s worse for a single person on benefits – they face extremely unaffordable rents at 68% of income, while a single part-time worker parent on benefits faces rents at 42% of income, which is severely unaffordable.

Speaking on what could be done to address the crisis, Witte said, “there are opportunities to further streamline development planning processes, but more importantly to invest in social and affordable housing for workers. The use of instruments like the density bonus and inclusionary zoning needs to be maximised.”

National Shelter are also calling for change. “The data demonstrates the need for national leadership and a national housing strategy. We need to bring the threads of tax reform, incentives to encourage greater investment by institutional finance and states, planning reforms and urban and regional development together to tackle this problem,” Pisarski said.

Affordability better in regional Tasmania but Launceston declines With a RAI of 121, the average household in regional Tasmania faces rent at around 25% of income.

Towns in northern and eastern Tasmania, including Devonport, have relatively acceptable rents compared to regional incomes. However, Launceston has become moderately unaffordable in recent years.

An interactive map of the RAI at the small geographical area level can be found at the following website:

About Community Sector Banking
Community Sector Banking is the not-for-profit banking specialist for more than 13,000 organisations; it’s a joint venture between Bendigo Bank and the Community 21 consortium of not-for-profit organisations, established 15 years ago.

About National Shelter
National Shelter is a peak advocacy group whose mission is to create a “more just housing system, particularly for low-income Australian households.”

About SGS Economics & Planning
SGS Economics & Planning is a leading planning and economics firm whose purpose is to shape policy and investment decisions to achieve sustainable places, communities and economies.

About Brotherhood of St. Laurence
The Brotherhood of St Laurence is a community organisation that works to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.

Media Release from Shelter, SGS

Hobart least affordable capital city in Australia, latest Rental Affordability Index confirms

Tasmania’s peak body for housing and homelessness continues to be concerned at the escalating levels of unaffordable rents, highlighted by the latest Rental Affordability Index (RAI) produced by SGS Economics & Planning.

“Rental affordability in Tasmania has fallen to its lowest point since the Index began in 2015. Hobart now outstrips Sydney as the least affordable capital in Australia with Tasmanian incomes failing to keep pace with soaring rental prices. The combination of rising rent and low income growth has created unprecedented hardship for many people seeking to find an affordable home”, Shelter Tas Executive Officer, Pattie Chugg said.

The RAI reveals the reality of renting across Tasmania, as it is the only index of its kind that compares household incomes with the cost of renting. The index is showing an increasing trend of rental stress across the state, where the households on the lowest 40% of incomes pay 30% or more of their income in rent.

“Rents in Tasmania are now on par with the rest of Australia, however average Tasmanian households earn over $300 a week less than mainland households. With over 8,000 low income households already in housing stress, rental unaffordability is now rising up the income ladder, increasingly impacting average working families”, Ellen Witte, Partner at SGS Economics and Planning said.

“The results for Hobart are a real wake-up call. There has been a single-minded focus by State Government on population growth, but a complete lack of vision of where this growth needs to go and how all households are going to be accommodated. Renting households, many of them working families, are now paying the price”, Ms Witte said.

The situation in greater Hobart has deteriorated over the past year, with even the average household now on the brink of housing stress, paying 29% of their income on rent. The problem isn’t confined to Hobart, as the decline in affordability for average households is increasingly felt in both Launceston and regional towns in the South like New Norfolk, Geeveston, Huonville and Cygnet.

“While the impact on average households is concerning, it is masking the grim reality that those on low incomes are facing an increasing risk of homelessness across Tasmania”, Ms Chugg said.

In regional North and North West Tasmania, rental homes in Devonport and Burnie are moderately unaffordable for low income Tasmanians such as single pensioners and single working parents on benefits. Across Tasmania, low income earners are being forced out, further away from jobs with poor transport options, or into severely overcrowded dwellings, entrenching their disadvantage.

“In such a competitive and unaffordable rental market, many low income earners must make impossible choices between essentials such as food and heating or having a home. Single parent working families, young people and aged and disability pensioners are the worst affected, paying up to 80% of their income on rent”, Ms Chugg said.

The lack of affordable and safe housing is the biggest cause of homelessness, and we know that homelessness is increasing. On any given night 1,622 Tasmanians have no place to call home. We know that young people are disproportionately affected by homelessness, making up 52% of homelessness services’ clients. We can and must do better”, Ms Chugg said.

“A strong economy must be built upon foundation of secure homes for all Tasmanians, however the rental affordability crisis is pushing out vital workers like those in tourism and hospitality from areas where they are needed the most. We must also plan ahead for our housing needs with an integrated approach to overall population growth and State economic development”, Ms Witte said.

“There are multiple policy levers at the Government’s disposal to address the housing crisis and work together with the development sector, for instance in regard to build-to-rent. Fact is, increasingly more households rent for the long term, as they can no longer afford to purchase a home, so there is a need to ensure renting is a sustainable, secure and affordable living option”, Ms Witte said.

“Tasmania’s deepening shortage of affordable and social housing has serious implications for the Tasmanian community as a whole as it undermines our economy’s ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce, and directly impacts our community’s health, education and overall wellbeing”, Ms Witte said.

“The benefits of our growing economy must be shared. With the State budget just around the corner, Shelter Tasmania repeats its call for the $60m in stamp duty windfall from the booming property market to be invested in new social housing. Tasmania needs at least 150 new public an community housing dwellings each year, which is the best way to guarantee that housing will stay affordable in the long term”, Ms Chugg said.

About the Rental Affordability Index:
National Shelter, Community Sector Banking, SGS Economics & Planning and Brotherhood of St. Laurence have released the Rental Affordability Index (RAI) biannually since 2015. The RAI is easy to understand indicator of the price of rents relative to household incomes based on new rental agreements.

An interactive map of the RAI at the small geographical area level can be found at the following website:

About Shelter Tasmania:
Shelter Tasmania is the peak body for housing and homelessness. For further information on Shelter Tasmania’s priorities for the State Budget, please see the submission on our website.

Media Release from Roger Jaensch, Minister for Housing Rental affordability index

There is no doubt that Tasmania’s booming economy has resulted in more people than ever choosing Tasmania as the place to live, work and raise a family.

While this is good news for the state, it has resulted in real challenges for Tasmanians on low incomes seeking to buy or rent a house, which is why we convened the housing summit in March to bring together key stakeholders to identify solutions.

We are currently progressing all the agreed outcomes from the summit with a range of short, medium and long term solutions to ensure every Tasmanian has access to housing they can afford.

We know the best solution to our housing shortage is increased supply, and we are working closely with local government and the housing and property sectors on reforms that aim to deliver more residential land to market faster.

This is in addition to our first Affordable Housing Action Plan that is providing real relief for Tasmanians in need.

So far, it has helped more than 500 new households into affordable, secure and safe homes and is on track to assist 1,600 households into affordable housing by June 2019.

The Tasmanian Government is investing a further $125 million in phase two of the Affordable Housing Action Plan which is expected to provide an additional 1500 new affordable homes for Tasmanians, and assist around 2000 households.

This is on top of other commitments we have made that will increase the number of houses in Tasmania, such as:

  • Extending the first home builders boost;
  • A 50 per cent stamp duty holiday for first home buyers who purchase existing homes up to $400,000; and
  • A three year land tax holiday for all new-build housing available for long term rental

We know there is still plenty more work to be done, and we are getting on with the job of delivering it.

A fact sheet on our actions to address the housing issues can be found here:


Latest Property Market Trends

Coming out of the Spring selling season, demand is still surging with low rates and house prices continuing to rise in most areas.

According to NAB’s August Housing Market Report1, 2016 property prices have proved more resilient than expected, supported by higher than predicted population growth and two Reserve Bank cuts to interest rates. The latest monthly figures from Corelogic2 released 31 October, show that the average value of houses and units rose across all capital cities except Adelaide and Hobart. Sydney continues to soar, where the median dwelling price is now a jaw-dropping $800,000; this is $200,000 more than Melbourne and more than double Hobart’s median price of $343,500.

In regional areas, mining regions continue to experience weak housing market conditions. But areas associated with tourism and lifestyle have strengthened in recent years. However, in the coming months, NAB economists expect to see mixed conditions in the housing market due to a range of factors, including turnover, time on market and vendor discounts. They predict prices will weaken in 201, with forecast housing growth fairly subdued at 0.5%, and unit prices dropping by 1.9%.

Trends in Property Market

Demand at fever pitch

Overall, the demand for houses and units is strong, according to the October REA Group Property Demand Index report – it’s at an all-time high in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, and the ACT3.

The number of people looking to buy on increased nationally by 8.2% in October, although overall listings on the site were lower than the same time last year, according to the report. With property demand so strong, supply may well increase as more owners look to take advantage and sell.

But affordability will continue to be a challenge for hopeful buyers, particularly in NSW and Victoria.

The suburbs most in demand

According to the REA Group Property Demand Index, lifestyle factors and good infrastructure, rather than prestige, are now driving demand. Victoria’s leafy outer suburb of Warrandyte took the top spot on the demand index for houses in September. It replaced the pricier and trendy inner-city suburb of Prahran.

Overall, it’s been another strong year for the Australian property market. But experts are expecting to see mixed conditions as we move into a new year.


Author:  Alan Faint,

The Property Market: Looking Back in 2016

Thinking about buying a house this year? Before you start exploring property listings, brush up on your knowledge of the property market in your area. To help you get started, here’s a snapshot of the property markets around Australia.

Looking back on Australia’s property market in 2016

The year ended on a high note, as property prices regained momentum in 2016 following additional interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)1.

While most capital cities saw an increase in property values, Core logic reports that Perth and Darwin were the only capital cities where property values decreased2, which may be reflective of an ongoing shift in the mining industry.

Core logic reports that gross rental yields (i.e., total income from rental properties before deductions) reached a historic low of 3.2% late last year1. It is due to the increase in property value.

So, if you’re looking to start or grow your investment property portfolio, you might want to talk to your broker about the best investment solutions for you.

What we can expect in 2017

Depending on what you’re after, 2017 might be your year. NAB Economics forecasted a further cut to the official interest rate in November 2017, and where this is the case, the trend of property prices may continue to increase.

An oversupply of units and apartments in capital cities has impacted the growth rate for Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, according to Corelogic3. This oversupply is expected to slow the growth of property demand in these cities.

As of 31 January 2017, Core Logic reports that the value of houses and units continues to rise for most capital cities4. Perth and Darwin are again the only capital cities to see an overall decline in value year on year. Darwin saw a decrease of 2.94% in the value of its houses, while its apartments increased in value by 8.49%. Both Brisbane and Perth saw apartment values decrease by 2.72% and 3.82% respectively.

As expected, Sydney and Melbourne have seen the most growth since January 2016. However, Hobart saw the highest month-on-month price increase, despite seeing a drop in apartment values. Your mortgage broker will be able to help you navigate the changing property market, so if you’re thinking about moving house or are looking to invest, talk to your broker about opportunities that might be right for you.

4 as at 31 January 2017

Author:  Alan Faint,