Budget figures reveal Qld housing pressure

·3-min read

Tough times are expected to continue for Queenslanders trying to find a stable home, with budget figures showing minuscule rental vacancies and few new measures to address public housing demand.

Tuesday's state budget shows vacancies at historic lows, with many cities and regional centres recording rates below one per cent.

A vacancy rate of just 0.7 per cent reported in Brisbane in May is the lowest in decades, budget papers state.

In the far north tourist hub of Cairns the rate is 0.5 per cent, and 0.3 per cent in Toowoomba in the south.

As well as being difficult to find, rental accommodation is also getting more expensive in response to a strong housing market.

Residential transaction volumes exceeded 207,000 in the 12 months to May 2022, compared to an average of around 149,000 in the previous five years.

Some relief is expected after the recent surge to reflect rising interest rates.

To address demand, the 2022/23 budget includes $150 million over three years to increase housing supply in priority areas, as well as extra funding for roads and sewer systems to spur housing development in the south east.

There is also just under $30 million over four years targeted at youth homelessness, designed to help young people work toward social and economic independence.

However there are no new measures specifically targeted at addressing a public housing waiting list of more than 50,000.

The government will instead rely on its $1.9 billion Housing and Homelessness Action Plan to 2025, announced in last year's budget.

The plan is supported by a $1 billion investment fund, the returns of which are about $40 million a year used to drive new supply.

Treasurer Cameron Dick said the government would continue its affordable housing program, but the truth is 95 per cent of Queenslanders live in homes built by the private sector.

"There's about $10.6 billion of residential property work in the pipeline in Queensland, that is an all time record," Mr Dick said on Tuesday.

Some 7400 new dwellings are expected to be delivered under existing action plan to 2025, but there is demand to do more.

"Queensland's Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch has said she is anticipating even more social housing applications given the current pressures many Queenslanders are facing," Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Aimee McVeigh said on Monday.

""We don't just need a record funding announcement, we need sustained funding and more houses built at a much faster pace," she said.

Housing and homelessness services are reporting making "heartbreaking choices" to decide who among their clients gets to shift from a tent or a car to a home.

"There are elderly people couch surfing, there are children growing up in domestic violence shelters because there is nowhere else to go," Ms McVeigh said.

"These Queenslanders cannot keep waiting for the wheels of government to turn to find a safe home to live in."

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