If Australia follows the advice of the Greens, it will end up like Ireland.
I don’t mean full of history, incredibly green hills and wonderful hospitality, but facing a rental crisis like nowhere else on the planet.
In Australia we have the greatest rental shortage ever recorded, but it pales in comparison to the situation in Ireland.
In the entire nation of Ireland, there are only 700 homes available for rent.
In the rare event of a home becoming available for tenants, the queue stretches for hundreds of metres down the road outside the advertised home. I’ve seen footage of these events on television.
Because there’s such an extraordinary shortage, rents in Ireland rose 12.6% in just three months.
It’s a national disaster.
To put Ireland’s situation into perspective, Australia has around 33,000 homes available for rent. On a per capita basis, Australia has 10 times as many rental homes vacant as they do in Ireland.
And remember that the vacancy rate in Australis is below 1%, the lowest ever recorded.
The key question is this: how did Ireland get into such a parlous situation with virtually nowhere for people to live as tenants?
The answer is: they implemented government policies very similar to those the Greens want to have legislated here in Australia.
In Ireland, they scrapped tax deductions for investors who own properties. They increased the taxes that landlords have to pay. They introduced draconian tenancy laws and they brought in a rental cap on existing tenancies.
In response to all those measures, there was an exodus of investors from the market. All over the country, investors sold and exited property ownership, because it had become onerous to own real estate as landlords.
The government portrayed property ownership almost as a criminal activity, something to be punished, so people got out.
And now there’s almost nowhere available for people who need a rental home.
In Australia we’ve had a rental shortage crisis for several years but it’s getting more dire by the month. And it will get worse before it gets better.
State and Federal Governments seem incapable of understanding the problem, much less devising real solutions.
Every time politicians make decisions and implement policies impacting the housing market, they make the situation worse.
And now we have the Greens hellbent on legislating changes that would put Australia in a similar position to that in Ireland.
It beggars belief that politicians who aspire to lead the nation or influence its future, could seriously put forward policies that would massively disadvantage the very people they claim they want to help.
But then, we have a situation in Australia where all the major issues confronting the housing sector – poor affordability, the rental shortage and builders going broke every week – have been caused, directly, by the decisions of politicians who seem incapable of thinking through the consequences of their policies and unwilling to look beyond the press conference.
Australians deserve better – but, if the Greens have their way, they will get something considerably worse.