Empty houses distort the market and disadvantage renters

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | Jim Casey, Sylvie Ellsmore

Federal Greens Sydney City candidate, Sylvie Ellsmore, and Federal Greens Grayndler candidate, Jim Casey, are calling for a new national standard in setting rent increases as empty investment properties in the CBD continue to put a strain on the rental market.

New research released by the University of NSW's City Futures Research Centres over the weekend has shed new light on the causes of the housing affordability crisis.

“There are over 10,000 vacant investment houses in the Inner West of Sydney,” said Sylvie Ellsmore. “Investors are being encouraged to buy properties and leave them empty as they take advantage of the tax incentives such as negative gearing and capital gains concessions.”

“This is not only immoral, given the huge amount of Sydney-siders sleeping rough at the moment, these empty houses are a huge factor in driving up rents in Sydney by as much as 4-5% a year.”

 “We need to create a national standard for renters that includes limiting rent increases to no more than once a year and capping rent increases with the Consumer Price Index. This would add a stabilising force to a very uncertain Sydney housing market,” concluded Ellsmore.

“This is a great example of why we need to get rid of these tax incentives that allow so many houses to be vacant in downtown Sydney,” said Jim Casey.

“Malcolm Turnbull might be keeping his rich friends happy with these incentives, but it is unacceptable that there are so many empty properties that are only assisting in keeping Sydney unaffordable.

“Contrary to what the property development lobbyists and the major parties would have you believe - the housing affordability crisis is not only caused by constraints on new development, rather the advantageous investors who intend to keep their investments profitable.

“In a time when more people are locked out of the housing market and see renting as their only option, fairer national laws need to be in place to protect renters

"The Prime Minister may see housing purely as a market opportunity but we believe homes are a human right,” concluded Casey.

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 Sylvie Ellsmore Media Contact: 0433 753 376