Housing is a human right, not a privilege. The housing stock in our cities is our community asset.
However, a significant portion of this housing stock is being withheld from us.
We are living in a situation where some investors accept that the yearly capital gains are enough – they have no strong incentives to put them on the rental market.
At Prosper, we have been measuring vacancy rates since 2007. Our latest speculative vacancies report identified at least 60,901 vacant properties in the Melbourne metropolitan region, equivalent to 7.8% of all rental properties. This ‘lost’ segment of the market artificially inflates the cost of renting and makes housing less affordable for struggling Australians.
In 2017 our Victorian Government introduced a vacancy tax to penalise investors for leaving properties empty. While we expect this tax to curb the problem somewhat, we don’t think it will go far enough to solve the problem.
What we want to see is the greater use of a broad-based land tax. This will curb speculative investment and result in our housing stock being treated as it should be: an important asset of our community.