Campaign focus on housing affordability

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An impending interest rate rise and a new opposition shared equity plan to get thousands of people into homes has intensified the spotlight on property affordability.

Federal Labor says the cost of buying a home will be slashed by up to 40 per cent for about 10,000 low to middle income earners a year if it wins government.

Responding to the policy on Sunday, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the recently expanded Home Guarantee Scheme was preferable to governments owning part of people's homes.

"Our policy is about ensuring that Australians get to own their own home, Labor's policy is about the government owning parts of your home with you," Mr Birmingham told ABC's Insiders on Sunday.

Labor's Help to Buy scheme will provide an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home, and up to 30 per cent for an existing dwelling, with buyers needing a minimum deposit of two per cent.

Ahead of the most recent federal budget, the government announced up to 50,000 places would be available each year under its scheme allowing first home buyers to enter the market with a much smaller deposit.

"It's helping now really lift the rates of first time ownership ... and importantly, you get to own your own home, you don't have Mr Albanese at the kitchen table," Mr Birmingham said.

About 160,000 new home owners entered the Australian market last year, up from a five year average of around 100,000, he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday admitted the dream of home ownership was not something everyone can achieve.

"It's really tough, but what I'm so encouraged by is that Australians are still doing it, and the programs we've put in place are helping them achieve that," he told reporters in Sydney.

"The most important thing if you want to own your own home is making sure you get that job and you have that financial security."

Under Labor's plan, Australians will be able to buy back an additional stake in the home, owned by the federal government, in five per cent increments or pay the government back when they sell.

The scheme is not exclusive to first home buyers but participants must be Australian citizens and live in the home for two years.

It's expected to cost taxpayers around $329 million over four years, but the Greens say the investment "won't even touch the sides".

Leader Adam Bandt said housing affordability is one area the party would push an Albanese Government should Labor win the election.

"What we want to do is work with the next government, which will hopefully not be a Liberal government ... but they're going to need to be pushed," Mr Bandt told Insiders on Sunday.

"Housing affordability is a massive issue in this country and they come out with a policy that maybe might help 10,000 people, and might in fact push up prices."

The Greens want to build a million homes over the next two decades, including a mix of public and community housing and shared ownership and affordable rental schemes.

The debate comes ahead of a meeting of the Reserve Bank on Tuesday to discuss the prospect of a mid-campaign interest rate rise.

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