Finance Property Groundbreaking project to tackle housing affordability gets ACCC green-light

Groundbreaking project to tackle housing affordability gets ACCC green-light

A new approach to tackling housing affordability has been green-lighted by the ACCC. Photo: AAP
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Australia’s least expensive capital city is set to get even more affordable following the competition watchdog’s approval of a groundbreaking approach to tackling housing affordability.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has green-lit a plan to allow property developers and government housing bodies in South Australia to work together on increasing Adelaide’s supply of affordable housing.

The ACCC’s rubber stamp enables developers to agree to requests from SA Housing Authority or Renewal SA which could otherwise be a breach of national competition laws.

These include agreements to cap prices for some properties, to rent or sell to certain identified tenants or purchasers, or agreement not to compete for the rental or sale of property.

South Australia’s state government has operated affordable homes programs for more than 10 years, during which time a total of 4341 new and established homes have been sold to eligible buyers

Its stated goal is to make 15 per cent of all new “significant developments” available as affordable housing for people in the low to moderate income category.

This includes workers in the health care, social services and administrative support occupations.

“The arrangements are likely to increase the affordable housing stock in the greater metropolitan region of Adelaide,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“This is likely to benefit people who are otherwise unable to access the general housing market or social housing in the region.”

The SA Housing Authority said the 10-year authorisation will allow the state to “plan for, and deliver more, affordable housing projects”.

“The authorisation acknowledges our affordable housing initiatives are for the public good, and removes the remote possibility that those initiatives could be interpreted as anti-competitive in certain circumstances,” an SA Housing Authority spokesperson said.

“Allocating 15 per cent of new developments to affordable housing will mean more opportunities for South Australians on low to moderate incomes to buy a home.”

National Association of Tenant Organisations spokesperson Leo Patterson Ross said that governments at federal, state and local levels should be “looking at how they can facilitate the development of truly affordable housing”.

“We support the inclusion of affordable housing in developments and are part of campaigns such as the Sydney Alliance and Everybody’s Home which are calling for significant proportions of developments to be set aside for affordable housing,” he said.

“It’s concerning that the building of affordable housing is something which may be unlawful when we are in the middle of a housing crisis – it says a lot about how we view housing as primarily a financial product, not as a home for people to live in.”