The housing affordability debate needs to consider the economy on an Australia-wide basis,
according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

“While there is a housing unaffordability crisis in Sydney and Melbourne, this is not the case in the rest of Australia's cities and regional areas,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“We urge the Government to consider a holistic and broad approach to housing affordability, and to consider the whole country and the entire economy.

“This must include consideration of land supply problems in Sydney; giving time for APRA's macroprudential levers to take effect; dealing with the over-reliance of state governments on stamp duty revenue; responsible lending by banks; responsible borrowing by consumers; a greater focus on financial literacy; getting over the 'fear of missing out'; dealing with the impact of foreign investors, including property vacancies; and, other factors.

“There is also another impact which must be considered. Many small business owners are also individual consumers; some of whom have second mortgages on their homes to fund their business.

“This means that Government housing policy can have flow on impacts to the health of these small businesses; not just the potential for financial distress but also impacts on the mental and health wellbeing of small business owners.

“The IPA is urging the Government to consider the housing affordability situation not in isolation but in the broader context of the whole of the economy, and especially for the sake of the health of the small business sector and owners.

“All variables and options should be explored. However, any discussion of accessing
superannuation for the purpose of entering the housing market needs to be cautioned to ensure the true objective of superannuation is not lost; that is to provide income in retirement to substitute or supplement the age pension.

“We welcome the fact that the Government seem to be looking at a range of solutions to address housing affordability and we will continue to be an active participant. There is no panacea to this problem so we must all work constructively to find a range of solutions,” said Mr Conway.