Labor's Chris Bowen accused on major negative gearing data miscalculation

Labor's Chris Bowen accused on major negative gearing data miscalculation
Labor's Chris Bowen accused on major negative gearing data miscalculation

Josh Frydenberg has accused Labor of “lying” about figures behind their negative gearing reforms. 

It comes as the Australian ­Bureau of Statistics has denied claims it had produced data showing that only 7 per cent of property invest­ors bought new homes, a figure opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen has been using repeatedly to back his housing policy.

Mr Bowen’s use of ABS data has been challenged by the Grattan Institute, a ­public policy think tank, which has argued that 14 per cent of ­investors buy new properties rather than existing ones. 

Mr Bowen has repeatedly referred to ABS figures purportedly showing that negative gearing has failed to promote construction in new housing and create jobs. 

But ABS financial statistics analyst Tony Mitchell told The Australian newspaper the ABS did not collate the figures Mr Bowen had been referring to since 2016. 

“If you wanted to have those numbers you wouldn’t be able to get them from our statistics ­because we don’t collect them,” Mr Mitchell told The Australian

“We’ve got a little bit about construction, but it is to do with lending to businesses for construction of investment dwellings. It is not to do with lending to households for construction of ­investment dwellings.

“There is nothing about lending­ for newly constructed dwellings. That is included in other statistics, but you can’t break it out.” 

The Treasurer said Bowen had been “caught out” and had to “come clean” about Labor’s sums in his budget reply speech later today.

“Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen have been tripping over their shoe laces and the election hasn’t even begun,” the Treasurer told Sydney’s Alan Jones on 2GB radio this morning.

“The Labor Party in reality may see a big black hole in them because they have underestimated the number of negative gearers who use new homes.

“Chris Bowen needs to come clean about the data.”

“The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that 93 per cent of new investment loans go to people purchasing ­existing housing stock,” Mr Bowen said in January. 

“This means that the vast bulk of investment does not increase supply or boost jobs. 

“All it does is increase demand and the price of the existing homes, allowing investors to use tax subsidies to outbid owner-occupiers and first-home buyers.”

Grattan Institute director Danielle Wood said the independent think tank had estimated that more investors bought new properties than Labor was claiming. 

“It is right that you can’t ­directly calculate it from the ABS data because some of the finance is going into homes that are newly constructed and you can’t see the split between­ investors and owner-occupiers for that ­category,” Ms Wood said. 

The Property Investors Council of Australia (PICA) said the use of ‘dodgy data’ shows Labor must urgently authorise the Parliamentary Budget Office to release modelling and assumptions used in their negative gearing and capital gains tax policies.

“If Labor has nothing to hide, then this is a straight forward exercise in full disclosure so all property owners can understand their reasoning for such significant reform,” said PICA chairman, Ben Kingsley.

Mr Kingsley said Labor’s keystone policy failed to include off-the-plan and house-and- land packages in its estimation that more than 90 per cent of new investment loans are to people purchasing existing housing stock.

He said industry experts have shown this figure to be woefully inaccurate.

“Just today Australia biggest aggregator – AFG with over 2900 mortgage brokers – confirmed its mortgage application data for new investment purchases vs. existing property was 43% new and 57% existing,” he said.

Tags: 
Negative gearing Labor Party

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