Cutting Red Tape Will Ensure
FOR FUTURE BUYERS
The residential market in Victoria is at a crossroads.Fluctuating market conditions and a changing investment climate has seen the construction of new residential developments slow significantly, particularly in the last year.
Instead, slowing conditions seem to be attributable to a range of economic factors including a challenging foreign investment market and tighter lending conditions, which has seen prospective buyers and investors retreat from the market. There is also significant red tape delay deterring investment into the residential sector.
The Planning and Building Approvals Process Review has been tasked with identifying processes in the planning system that are adding unnecessary cost and delay in the delivery of property infrastructure.
In various submissions to the review, the Property Council has identified a number of policy initiatives which would support the establishment of a more sustainable and affordable residential environment for buyers and investors.
The need to provide greater support to Councils toenable a timely planning processes
The current timeframes around the development approvals process do not create incentives for local councils or referral authorities to respond in a timely manner.
While data is available on local council performance on a range of metrics, it measures planning performance by volume of applications, not by the size of projects, their complexity, their economic contribution to the local government area and the wider state, or their asset type.
The manner in which reporting occurs means that developers are, from time to time, asked to withdraw and re-submit applications, effectively restarting the clock. There needs to be a more accurate method of measuring the total time it takes for an application to be determined and where delays are occurring. Only when this information is known can the government properly target the problem areas.
We believe there needs to be a greater commitment by councils and referral authorities to process planning applications more efficiently. This could be achieved by reducing the number of iterations involved in processing, what are often, straightforward applications.
The Property Council has urged the Commissioner to facilitate greater transparency of permit application timelines. This would allow government to benchmark best practice and inform future funding decisions around incentivising councils to improve processes.
Planning delays at a Council level sometimes occur as a result of councils being under resourced when it comes to accommodating recent and projected population growth.
To address this issue, the Streamlining for Growth Program was introduced in 2016. This program provided additional resources to local councils to reduce planning delays. In 2017, the Treasurer, Tim Pallas, announced that the Victorian Government was extending the program for a further three years. This will bring the total investment in the program to $24 million over four years.
Since being introduced, more than $15 million in grants have been awarded to help accelerate projects across greater Melbourne and regional Victoria and over 150 projects have been assisted by the program since its initiation, including notable projects such as the Benalla Urban Growth Strategy Plan and the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Project.
In the Property Council’s submission to the Red Tape Commissioner, we advocated for an additional $5 million to be allocated to support improved planning, enabling the delivery of much-needed housing supply across Melbourne’s middle-ring suburbs and putting downward pressure on house prices.
Through increased funding, Council planners will be able to more thoughtfully assess planning applications with resources, guidance and support staff that the program can provide.
Additional resources for planning departments are expected to increase capacity to approve an additional 1,195 dwellings per year. These resources are also expected to save one week per dwelling through shorter delays in council planners assessing applications. State-wide, this has the potential to create $474 million per annum gross value added to the Victorian economy, employing an additional 3,592 members of the community in direct and indirect ongoing jobs.
Improving the taxation environment for investment
At the last State Budget, the Property Council of Australia mounted a strong campaign against further taxation of
the property sector, citing the impact on businesses and future investment opportunities in the State.
The campaign identified that the affordability challenges imposed by the Foreign Purchaser Additional Duty deterred investment and were also causing delay and impacting affordability, with the additional costs passed on to local tenants.
Disincentivising foreign investors has dramatically impacted the residential market at a time when the Victorian economy most needs investment.
While some exemptions exist to the Duty, the process of applying is onerous, complex and discretionary. The intricate nature of ownership structures and the complexity surrounding the exemption guidelines, mean determinations can take up to 90 days. This delay in determining eligibility for an exemption is lengthy and costly for business. The exemption is needed prior to settlement in order to complete the transaction, placing businesses with foreign investors at a competitive disadvantage.
Ensuring housing for a growing population
Red tape delay is difficult to estimate, however if it represents even one per cent of the 2018 value of building permits in Victoria, the amount lost to red tape in the State’s property sector is $396 million every year.
The State Government’s preparedness to consider ways in which to reduce the burden of red tape on the property industry is commendable and with a final report due in December, we are optimistic that eliminating unnecessary burdens on the industry will expedite the delivery of residential stock needed to meet future demand.
Despite optimism, it is also undeniable that we have confronted headwinds. The story of our State’s economic activity in 2019 has been one of robust population growth and a significant drop-off in new residential building. Unless these issues are addressed, we risk the affordability of homes for Victorians.
相反,形势放缓似乎是由一系列经济因素造成 的,包括外国投资市场面临挑战,贷款条件更为严格,这导致 潜在购房者和投资者纷纷撤出市场。此外,大量的繁琐手续 导致延误,从而妨碍了对住宅领域的投资
尽管经济和建筑指标显示新住房存量跟不上人口增长的步 伐,但州政府在刺激住房开发方面一直行动迟缓。最近,由 处理繁文缛节的特派专员Anna Cronin进行的一项审查将 寻求解决人们对更加灵活的住房市场的日益增长的需求.
在向该审查提交的各种意见中,房地产委员会列出了多项政 策提案,这些提案将有助于为购房者和投资者建立更可持续 和实惠的住宅环境。
尽管提供了一系列当地委员会绩效指标数据,但它只是根据 项目申请的数量,而不是项目的规模、复杂性、对地方政府 以及整个州的经济贡献或其资产类型来衡量规划绩效的。
这种上报方式意味着开发商时常被要求撤回申请,然后重新 提交,从而达到增加申请数量的目的。我们需要有一种更准 确的方法,以此衡量审批一项申请所需花费的全部时间,以 及发生延迟的地方。只有掌握了这些信息,政府才能正确确 定问题区域。
我们认为,地方委员会和转介部门需要更加投入,以更有效 地处理规划申请。为了完成此目标,可通过减少流程中的重 复手续,其中主要包括简单申请。
房地产委员会已促请特派专员提高许可证申请时间表的透 明度。这允许政府以最佳实践为基准,并围绕激励地方委员 会改进相关流程,为未来的融资决策提供参考。
为了解决这个问题,2016年推出了”精简流程,推动增长项 目”。该项目为地方委员会提供了额外的资源,以减少规划 延误。2017年,财政厅长Tim Pallas宣布,维多利亚州政府 将该项目再延长三年。这将使该项目在四年多内的总投资 达到2400万澳元。自推出以来,已投入超过1500万澳元,加速大墨尔本地区和 维多利亚地区的项目。自该项目启动以来,已有超过150个 项目得到援助,包括贝纳拉城市发展战略规划和面包山旧城 改造项目等著名项目。
在房地产委员会向处理繁文缛节的特派专员提交的文件中, 我们主张额外拨款500万澳元,以支持改善规划,为墨尔本中 环郊区提供刚需住房,并对房价带来下调压力。
为规划部门提供的额外资源有望使其每年多审批1195套住 房。另外,通过缩短地方委员会规划人员评审申请的时间, 这些资源将为每个住房节省一周的时间。在全州范围内,这 可望为维多利亚州经济每年创造4.74亿澳元的总价值,在直 接和间接进行的工作中为3,592名社区成员创造工作机会。
在上一份州预算中,澳大利亚房地产委员会发起了一场激烈 的运动,反对政府对房地产行业进一步征税,理由是这会对 该州的企业和未来投资机会造成影响。
该运动指出,外国购房者附加税所带来的可购性挑战阻碍了 投资,造成了延误并影响了可购性,而额外的成本则转嫁给 了当地租户。
尽管存在一些征税豁免,但申请的过程过于繁琐、复杂、随 意。复杂的所有权结构,复杂的豁免准则,意味着审批可能 需要多达90天。在评审豁免资格方面的延误,对于企业来 说,既漫长又昂贵。但为了完成交易,则必须在项目落地前 获取豁免,因此这使得与外国投资者的业务处于竞争劣势。
繁琐手续造成的延误代价很难估计,即使它仅占维多利亚州 2018年建筑许可价值的1%,该州房地产行业每年因繁琐手 续造成的损失就高达3.96亿澳元。
该州政府准备剔除繁琐手续、减少房地产行业繁琐手续的 做法值得称道,并且随着本月即将发布的期中报告,我们将 有望看到,消除房地产业不必要的繁琐手续将加快交付满足 未来需求的住宅存量。
尽管对此有信心,但不可否认的是,我们也面对着不利情 况。我们州在2019年的经济活动一直是人口强劲增长和新 住宅建筑显著下降的原因之一。除非这些问题得到解决,否 则我们将有可能走进维多利亚州人无法负担住房的困境。