City Futures Blog

News and research in housing and urban policy, from Australia’s leading urban policy research centre.

City Futures Blog random header image

First home ownership assistance schemes: how does Australia compare with other countries?

Posted by on April 19th, 2024 · Government, Housing

By Chris Martin and Hal Pawson. This is an edited version of the abstract of our new article, Australian first home ownership assistance schemes: International comparison and assessment, published in Australian Economic Papers.

Australia, like most developed countries, has promoted homeownership as an express housing policy goal for many decades. Domestically and internationally, recent years have seen growing efforts to enhance access to owner-occupation for prospective first home buyers (FHBs).

FHB assistance takes many forms. Our new article, Australian first home ownership assistance schemes: International comparison and assessment, presents a new typology of FHB assistance measures from a multi-method study of current approaches in Australia and in seven high-income comparator countries. Australia stands out for its modern emphasis on demand-side assistance (e.g., grants and tax concessions), rather than supply-side measures (e.g., government-developed housing for low-cost sale).

Lately, several Australian governments (federal and state) have diversified approaches to FHB assistance, particularly via shared equity and low-deposit mortgage schemes, taking cues from international practice. While more administratively demanding, these types of assistance are considered attractive because they require little outlay or operate on a ‘revolving fund’ basis, with government potentially sharing capital gains. However, they potentially place governments even more among housing’s ‘insiders’, with a material interest in continually rising prices.

Our article, now published open access in Australian Economic Papers, will be part of a special issue dedicated to the memory of Hon Assoc Prof Judy Yates. Australia’s foremost academic housing economist, Judy was an incisive analyst of homeownership policy and its contradictions. Our work shows FHB assistance policy is still largely stuck in the contradictions Judy saw.

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment