- Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Treasurer deliberately misleads the public over levels of foreign buyer ownership
- Actual data points to a minimal impact on the market
- Finance Minister calls on Liberals to change their position given their rationale for opposition was based on false data
The WA Liberal Party's efforts to distort the truth in an attempt to mask their craven politicking as proper policy has been exposed after independent data and analysis rubbished their claims.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, August 16, the Deputy Opposition Leader Liza Harvey attempted to explain the WA Liberals' position by stating:
'NSW had 23.6% of its residential housing stock owned by foreign investors and VIC 25.2%.....Western Australia has around 12% of our residential properties owned by foreign investors.'
In reality, based on a 2017 analysis by the ANZ Bank, the number of houses owned by foreign property buyers in Western Australia is closer to one per cent. The ANZ estimated late last year that foreigners owned between 2.5-4 per cent of dwellings in Australia. Given higher levels of ownership in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland that would imply a tiny fraction of foreign ownership in WA.
The Deputy Opposition Leader's statement follows on from a tweet from Shadow Treasurer Dean Nalder who claimed that foreign buyers made up 12 per cent of annual purchases in WA.
This is another wildly deceptive claim. Using credible sources of data from the Foreign Investment Review Board and Landgate, WA Treasury has estimated that the actual level of annual purchases by foreign buyers in WA in 2016-17 was 1.26 per cent. A far cry from Mr Nalder's 12 per cent.
All this suggests that the Liberal Party's claims that the foreign buyer surcharge will impact the local property market are unfounded and misleading. Indeed, a 2017 report from Acil Allen, commissioned by the Property Council of Australia, states:
'The amount that foreign buyers add to prices is minor and may actually be better described as rounding error. … Overall, the notion that foreign investors add to dwelling prices is unfounded.'
Comments attributed to Finance Minister Ben Wyatt:
"The desperation of the WA Liberal Party has plumbed to new depths with this blatant misinformation being used to hoodwink the public into supporting their damaging position.
"In a model of public discourse made famous by US President Donald Trump, patently ludicrous statements are now being dressed up as fact.
"I can see why the Liberal Party are so keen to stay out of the mainstream media if they want to avoid any scrutiny on such misleading claims.
"It's embarrassing and there is clearly no plausible evidence that foreign buyers should not pay their fair share.
"I call on the Liberal Party to have the courage to reconsider their position, given they based their opposition to this important reform on data which is just plain wrong."
Minister's office - 6552 5900