Home ownership data wrongly analysed: Prosper Australia

Home ownership data wrongly analysed: Prosper Australia
Home ownership data wrongly analysed: Prosper Australia

Prosper Australia does not believe in the home ownership problem being due to lack of housing supply, rather data has been wrongly analysed and a tax reform should be put in place.

"A good way to examine whether an adequate supply of housing exists is to compare the flow of new dwellings to new net population. Many analyses simply look at the relative or absolute change in dwelling stock, which is pointless without first considering changes in population."

Prosper Australia understands several factors have not been taken into consideration. For example, the total population measure is used, when only adults should be considered.

"An increase in the natural population through births doesn’t automatically necessitate new dwellings be built, though it may result in families upgrading to larger dwellings. 

"Renovations and extensions of existing dwellings are overlooked, but generate additional housing capacity. Many immigrants arrive in groups, initially requiring only one dwelling per family/shared household. 

"Building completions do not take into consideration dwellings that are demolished, condemned or held off the market. The slow rise in sole occupant households, divorce and/or childless couples (demographic change) may drive a long-run trend toward lower occupancy rates in general.

"The inadequacy of the housing shortage argument is apparent for the trend in the NSW ratio. Sydney, which dominates the state’s housing market, experienced a massive price boom between 1996 and 2004, yet over this period, one new dwelling was built for every 1.4 new people.  

"At the peak in 2004, the ratio decreased to an insane 0.2. In other states and territories, the ratio turned negative, indicating negative population growth in the face of positive dwelling construction, even while prices remained steady or even rising.

"Australia would be much better served if investor attention was refocussed onto genuine investment that added to our national capacity and strength rather than idle ticket-clipping. 

"In conclusion, there is no housing shortage as is commonly claimed, though a temporary shortage did emerge during the GFC. Australia is a mirror of other countries where high housing prices were also blamed on a shortage, always revealed, in hindsight, to be a chimera."

In the submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Prosper Australia recommended the Government to introduce a one per cent Federal Land Tax, fully rebatable on State Land Tax paid. 

"State governments could adjust their tax rules and keep every dollar the Federal Land Tax raises, to the great benefit of all Australians. The Commonwealth would be entitled to argue this intervention is for sound economic reasons and dissipate the political fallout.  

"Few state taxes have such economically useful and dynamic properties, except State Land Tax, which rises and retreats with land price changes. This rare and valuable quality is masked by biennial land valuations. 

"Prosper recommends government revalue all land annually, by interpolation. This is quite straightforward with computer-assisted mass appraisal. The economic benefit of this automatic stabiliser function is profound in eras of rapidly rising or falling land prices. 

"Reducing wage and business taxation and increasing land tax would not necessarily lower land prices, given the offset of increased final wages, profits, and real and imputed rents. This macro reform – urged on government by every independent tax review in living memory – would solidly correct the price/income and price/rent ratios. 

"Transitional arrangements would need to be considered. A logical solution is to credit all landowners with the amount of stamp duty paid and then deduct the hypothetical land tax they would have paid since the date of purchase. This would address much of the fairness question."

Prosper Australia claims that stamp duty deters property transactions and innovation.

"It inhibits the transfer of property to higher value uses, resulting in an inefficient allocation of resources. 

"This transaction tax falls on both land and buildings, whereas land tax falls solely on the underlying land. Thus, stamp duty lifts the cost of and constrains construction and construction employment. 

"Stamp duty inhibits transactions. If removed, we would see more and better construction, lower rents, better matching of households to housing stock, a greater propensity to buy (on ease of exit), less traffic congestion, and a deeper, more active land market.

"Prosper commends the Henry Review recommendation to tax on a per square meter basis, rather than aggregating holdings. The flatter the rate schedule, the less significance this question holds. 

"The proposed property tax should fall solely and utterly on the underlying land. Taxing structures discourages construction; land cannot be discouraged, it simply is."

Tags: 
Housing Supply Tax Reform

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