Alleviating housing pressures
Strengthening housing supply
Queensland’s housing availability and affordability challenges are underpinned by the inability of housing supply to keep pace with rising demand.
Previously low interest rates and substantial government support at a national and state level in response to the COVID-19 pandemic underpinned a boom in Queensland’s housing market, creating a strong pipeline of work and higher house prices.
Demand has also been fuelled by a continuing reduction in the average size of households, which has resulted in significant additional demand for housing, over and above the population growth rate. This trend was boosted during COVID-19 as more people sought less crowded forms of housing.
Material and labour supply shortages, wet weather disruptions, and several construction company bankruptcies have concurrently constrained Queensland’s residential construction activity, slowing the supply of new dwelling stock. Further, while the rise in interest rates has seen house prices subside since their peak in June 2022, the cost of servicing a mortgage has increased greatly.
Exacerbating the housing market challenges, conditions in the rental market are remarkably tight, with rental vacancy rates around record lows and rents increasing sharply across many Queensland regions, with a similar phenomenon apparent nationally.
Recognising these challenges, on 20 October 2022, the Queensland Government hosted the Queensland Housing Summit, to address the challenges of meeting Queenslanders’ housing needs. The Summit provided over 150 industry and other stakeholders an opportunity to discuss innovative strategies to support improved housing outcomes.
The Queensland Government has subsequently released the Housing Summit Outcomes Report from the historic Summit, which sets out a program of actions to deliver positive housing outcomes for the Queensland community.
Delivering solutions to housing and homelessness issues
Housing supply and affordability is a national issue and having access to safe and affordable housing remains fundamental to economic and social wellbeing. That is why the Queensland Government has set a clear objective: that every Queenslander should have access to a safe, secure, and affordable home that meets their needs and enables participation in the social and economic life of our prosperous state.
The Queensland Housing Strategy 2017–2027 sets out the 10-year vision for the state’s housing system and the Queensland Government’s commitment to making sure all Queenslanders have a pathway to safe, secure and affordable housing. It is delivered through the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021–2025 and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan 2019–2023.
A key enabler under the action plan was the Queensland Housing Investment Growth Initiative, which includes the Housing Investment Fund and QuickStarts Queensland, to accelerate investment in social and affordable housing.
Additional investment in housing supply and support initiatives was also provided through the Queensland Housing Roundtables and the Queensland Housing Summit to deliver positive housing outcomes for the Queensland community.
The 2023–24 Budget builds on these earlier commitments, providing additional investment towards social and affordable housing projects, crisis accommodation and supports, as well as services to address homelessness.
Social and affordable housing
The 2023–24 Budget is providing increased funding of $1.1 billion for the delivery and supply of social housing across Queensland through the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021–2025, including to meet higher construction costs and to boost the QuickStarts Queensland program target by 500 homes, bringing it to 3,265 social housing commencements by 30 June 2025.
$2 billion Housing Investment Fund
The Housing Investment Fund (HIF) was established to support investment in social and affordable housing and to encourage partnerships across Community Housing Providers, developers, builders, tenancy managers, institutional investors and superannuation funds to develop, finance and operate social and affordable housing.
At the Queensland Housing Summit, in October 2022, the government announced an additional $1 billion boost , taking the underlying investment supporting the HIF to $2 billion, to now deliver 5,600 social and affordable home commencements by 30 June 2027.
To date, over 1,500 homes have been approved for support. This includes support for the delivery of up to 1,200 new social and affordable homes through a commercial partnership between Brisbane Housing Company, QIC Limited and Australian Retirement Trust and the purchase of up to 335 properties exiting the Australian Government’s soon-to-be-closed National Rental Affordability Scheme by community housing provider, National Affordable Housing Consortium.
Build to Rent
The government has been partnering with the private sector to accelerate the supply of rental housing through its innovative build-to-rent pilot program. Three project partnerships have been announced in Brisbane, which will deliver more than 1,200 new dwellings, of which up to 490 will be provided as discount‑to‑market rental homes for eligible low-to-moderate income earners.
As part of the 2023–24 Budget, the government will provide build-to-rent tax concessions to support developments that provide at least 10 per cent of dwellings as affordable housing at discounted rents. The initiative is proposed to commence from 1 July 2023. The tax concessions will be made available for a maximum term of 20 years or until 30 June 2050 (whichever comes sooner). Eligible developments must be operational by 30 June 2030 to be eligible for the concessions.
Homelessness and housing supports
The Queensland Government continues to support vulnerable Queenslanders with over $250 million committed to housing and homelessness support services since the 2022–23 Budget. This includes over $100 million provided throughout the last 12 months, as well as an additional $150 million committed in the 2023–24 Budget.
Since the 2022–23 Budget, the government has provided over $100 million for housing supply and support, including:
- $54 million for the Immediate Housing Response package to help put a roof over the heads of Queenslanders living in insecure and unsafe situations and help people maintain tenancies. This includes $5 million from the Housing Summit Outcomes
- $40.2 million as part of the total $56 million funding to deliver the Housing Summit Outcomes
- $7.8 million to reintegrate women and girls into the community, as part of the $225 million response to the recommendations of the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce in Hear her voice – Report Two.
The 2023–24 Budget commits over $150 million over 5 years to provide temporary accommodation and extend and enhance housing and homelessness services. This includes:
- $51.3 million for the second Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Action Plan (2024–2027) with a focus on progressing Closing the Gap initiatives, enhancing culturally safe services and delivering innovative housing supply solutions
- $61.9 million for emergency supported accommodation
- $18.1 million to enhance and expand youth housing and homelessness services
- $13.9 million for operational services including 3 accommodation sites
- $5.4 million to continue the delivery of critical frontline housing services
- $2 million for the Helena`s House project, to support the safe transition of young people with a disability from the family home to a living solution of their choice.
Land releases and infrastructure
To stimulate growth and facilitate unlocking 50,000 residential lots in the Ripley Valley and Greater Flagstone Priority Development Areas, the government has increased the Catalyst Infrastructure Fund by $21.2 million. This brings total funding to $171.2 million over 4 years from 2022–23 to enable construction of trunk road, water and sewer infrastructure.
Further, as part of the 2023–24 Budget, the government will provide $7.5 million over 2 years to support Economic Development Queensland undertake detailed site investigations of mixed tenure residential and housing developments, including social and affordable housing.
The Queensland Government is committed to ensuring that rental laws provide certainty and clarity to encourage and maintain housing supply in the private rental market while supporting and protecting vulnerable renters, including people experiencing domestic and family violence, seniors and people with disability, to access safe, secure and sustainable housing.
Consistent with most other jurisdictions, the government passed legislation to limit rent increases to once a year, applying to all new and existing tenancies from 1 July 2023 onwards. The move is designed to balance the rights and interests of Queenslanders who rent, and property owners, to sustain a healthy rental supply.