An investigation into foreign investment in Australia has sparked debate.
The regulations around foreigners buying property in Australia are being reviewed amid concerns that the amount of foreign investment is driving up prices, making it harder for locals to buy homes.
However, some have said that the investigation is focusing on the wrong areas. The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) has stated that tax policies are more to blame for inflated prices. “The fact the government and the media are pointing the finger at foreign investors as the primary reason for increases in property prices and the affordable housing shortage is flawed,” said REINSW president Malcolm Gunning. He said that “clunky” planning laws and a skewed tax system were more to blame for market stress, adding that foreign investment was important to create jobs and boost economic growth.
Much of the focus has been on Chinese investors, who spend some US$4.5bn annually on Australian property, according to Credit Suisse. However, the Guardian’s data blog pointed out that 50% of this figure is accounted for by permanent residents of Australia – a completely different beast to foreign-based investors leaving ghost apartments.
Others have stressed that the current rules for foreign …read more