ALP’s affordable housing plan could save up to $11 billion: study

An analysis of the Labor party’s national affordable rental strategy has found it could save the federal government up to $11 billion over a decade by reducing the amount of crisis services needed for people facing homelessness.

The Amplify Insights – Housing Affordability and Homelessness Report by the McKell Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers analysed what is effectively an updated version of the National Rental Affordability Scheme which operated between 2008 and 2014.

The main aim of the policy is social, because people who have secure housing options are more likely to be healthier and maintain a job than those needing urgent accommodation, and they will also feel more independent and connected.

“The plan establishes an environment for increased capital flows into the development of new private, affordable housing using a blended capital model,” the study said.

“It aims to create a bridge between crisis accommodation and public housing and private housing, for low and middle income families who have some capacity to pay rent.”

The policy’s goal of 250,000 dwellings over a decade – with 20,000 built in the first term of government – has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at $102 million in 2021-22, rising to $6.6 billion in 2028-29.

“In return for investors providing eligible tenants rents set at least 20 per cent below market rates, the scheme will provide an annual incentive of $8,500 over 15 years,” the study said.

“Dwellings must also be owned or managed by a registered community housing provider.”

The policy would create economic benefits such as new 46,000 jobs for each year of the program and a GDP boost of up to $40 billion, “saving the Budget between $5-11 billion in Government services by shifting those from crisis accommodation into more sustainable, secure housing,” the report added.

Meanwhile, the Coalition has announced $60 million in Strong And Resilient Communities Activity grants for localised housing intervention projects.