A public developer would oversee building of 610,000 houses over the next decade

A plan to build, sell and rent houses through a public developer has been decried as “dystopia” by the nation’s property council boss despite its use overseas.

Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather and Property Council of Australia chief executive Mike Zorbas took to the National Press Club on and presented their solutions to the deteriorating housing landscape.

Under the Greens’ $27.9 billion federal election policy, a public developer would oversee building of 610,000 houses over the next decade before they are sold for just more than cost to first home buyers or rented at a maximum of 25 per cent of a household’s income.

About 427,000 of the dwellings would be earmarked for the rental market, with about 20 per cent allocated to the bottom 20 per cent of earners. The rest would be available to buy.

Max Chandler-Mather says Australia has one of the most unaffordable housing systems in the world.
But Mr Zorbas lambasted the Greens plan.

“I don’t think anyone has ever solved the housing crisis by adding another government agency,” he said.

“I can’t see the dystopia that Max is putting here in relation to those state governments, what I can see is incompetence over time.”

Mr Chandler-Mather shot back at the property industry heavyweight, saying he had visited “one of those dystopias” in Austria.

In Vienna, about half the city’s housing is a form of social housing and 80 per cent of Singapore’s residents live in publicly owned and governed housing.

“Australia has one of the most unaffordable housing systems in the world, precisely because we rely on private property developers,” he said.

Australia’s vacancy rate has dropped to a record low 0.7 per cent, according to real estate site Domain, driving up rent prices and demand for homelessness services.

Thirteen interest rate rises in almost two years have weighed on mortgage holders as house prices continue to soar.

The Greens’ policy would allow renters to save $5200 more per year while first home buyers would spend $260,000 less on the cost of a home, according to costings from the Parliamentary Budget Office.

“The public developer would directly compete with private developers and break their monopoly over the supply of housing,” Mr Chandler-Mather said.

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