30 May 2024

How Does the Federal Budget Affect the Property Market?


The federal budget is a powerful economic tool that can significantly influence various sectors of the economy, including the property market. As the nation’s attention turned to the recent federal budget announcement, many were keen to see how it would address the ongoing housing crisis. Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ $32 billion investment aimed at alleviating housing issues is a substantial commitment, but questions remain about its sufficiency and effectiveness.

Investment in New Housing

The Treasury’s forecasts suggest that investment in new housing is expected to rise after years of stagnation. This optimistic outlook, however, seems more bullish compared to the on-the-ground realities reported by industry insiders. The discrepancy highlights the challenges in translating government intentions into tangible outcomes within the property market.

Key Federal Budget Allocations for Housing:

  • $6.2 billion to be spent in housing, including $1 billion this financial year to help states and territories build more homes.
  • $1.9 billion investment to increase the maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance by a further 10%.
  • An additional $1.9 billion in concessional loans to community housing providers and other charities to support the delivery of new social and affordable homes.
  • $9.3 billion via a 5-year National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness for states and territories to combat homelessness, provide crisis support, and build & repair social housing.
  • $1 billion directed towards crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Labor Shortages and Resource Allocation

One of the most significant obstacles to boosting housing investment is the shortage of workers. This issue is exacerbated by the “crowding out” effect, where massive public infrastructure projects absorb a significant portion of the available building resources. The competition for labor and materials between public and private projects makes it difficult to ramp up housing construction as needed.

Initiatives to Address Labor Shortages:

  • $90.6 million to boost the number of construction workers, with $88.8 million for 20,000 additional Fee-Free TAFE training places.
  • The government is capping international student numbers and requiring universities to build more student housing if they want to increase their foreign enrollments.

The Role of the Private Sector

Despite government programs, the private sector’s ability to manage and execute projects is crucial. Builders, developers, and financiers must find ways to make housing projects financially viable. Currently, only upper-end developments are yielding sufficient margins, which does not address the broader issues of affordability and availability. The federal budget’s impact on the property market, therefore, hinges on the private sector’s response and capacity to deliver.

High Construction Costs

High construction costs continue to be a formidable challenge. This was starkly illustrated by the failed merger between development and building tycoons Tim Gurner and Andrew Roberts. The merger, which could have significantly impacted the housing market, fell through primarily due to insurmountable construction costs.

Innovative Solutions

Despite these challenges, innovative solutions are emerging. Private equity-backed Avid Property Group, for example, is investing heavily in the land lease sector. This housing model, where residents purchase prefabricated homes on rented lots, represents a $1.4 billion portfolio and is poised to address supply issues in a novel way.

Market Dynamics and Capital Growth

At the smaller end of the market, there is an argument that patient investors can still achieve capital growth, even in subdued markets like Melbourne. The extent of undersupply means that properties will likely appreciate over time, offering opportunities for savvy investors.

International and Domestic Players

International players like Singapore’s Frasers Property are capitalizing on Australia’s housing undersupply, positioning themselves to profit from the market dynamics. Meanwhile, home-grown entities like Lendlease face their own challenges. A recent $112 million tax bill over alleged double-dipping on tax benefits has cast a shadow over its operations. Investors are now eagerly awaiting the turnaround plan from CEO Tony Lombardo, set to be unveiled on May 27.


The federal budget’s impact on the property market is multifaceted. While substantial government investment aims to stimulate housing development, real progress depends on resolving labor shortages, managing construction costs, and encouraging private sector participation. Innovative housing models and strategic investments by both local and international players also play crucial roles. As these factors interplay, the true effectiveness of the federal budget in addressing the housing crisis will unfold over time.