The Parliamentary Economics Committee has posted its report on foreign investment in real estate.
Basically the report says they have no means of knowing the extent or impact, because the government has not gathered the data to allow it to be measured. It is scathing about the Foreign Investment Review Board, which is clearly both unable and unwilling to enforce the regulatory system.
In short, willful blindness prevails.
Bill Shorten pulled pin on reforms re Foreign investment in Australian Real Estate
While the committee's recommendations would fix this situation, their reluctance to speculate on the possible extent of illegal investment and the fact that it would alter the assessments of impact, means that there is little impetus expressed in the report to prioritise these changes. It squarely identifies Bill Shorten as having pulled the pin on reforms promised in the lead-up to the 2010 election.
On the impact on housing affordability, it lists the views of various property industry pundits who made submissions, without making any comment on their vested interest in presenting their view (that foreign investment did not push up the price, and was necessary to fund supply of new dwellings). The vacancy rate of foreign-owned housing was noted as an issue of concern in personal submissions, but regarded as beyond their ability to verify. However, in playing down the role of foreign investment in driving price increases, population growth was repeatedly presented as the main driver.
The Report was authored by the Parliamentary Economics Committee and is entitled, Report on Foreign Investment in Real Estate – Parliamentary Economics Committee available at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Economics/Foreign_investment_in_real_estate/Tabled_Reports