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Young Hunter residents priced out of home ownership, say Nationals

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The Nationals have slammed Labor’s lack of leadership on the all-important issue of home ownership in the Lower Hunter.

Leader David Littleproud and Senator Ross Cadell visited the federal electorate of Paterson during the week, where cost-of-living was also a big talking point.

The pair listened to representatives from the construction industry about the challenges faced by the sector while also meeting staff from McDonald Jones Homes at Chisholm.

“Australia has witnessed record levels of migration, while the construction of new homes is in freefall across the country,” Mr Littleproud said.

“When supply goes down, prices go up and unfortunately home ownership, especially for first homebuyers, has never been further out of reach.

“Regional Australia desperately needs builders who will back it as well as tradies with the skills needed.”

Mr Cadell added it was crucial that housing was affordable for the residents of Paterson.

“Last financial year, more than 1,180 development applications (DAs) were approved by Maitland City Council with the population growing by more than 2,000 people,” he said.

“This rapid growth is broadening the supply and demand gap, meaning young individuals and couples are being priced out of home ownership.”

McDonald Jones and MOJO CEO Rob Douglas shared his concerns for the sector amid increased input overheads and challenges in sourcing skilled tradespeople.

“While we have seen some stabilisation in supply chain costs from the wild fluctuations during COVID, prices are increasing, albeit modestly,” he said.

“Our biggest challenge is finding trades, especially in regional centres.

“Sourcing labour is a key driver in housing costs at present.

“In New South Wales, the supply of land is also a major factor in housing supply.”

Mr Littleproud and Mr Cadell also spent time hearing from businesses in the Maitland area, including independent supermarket IGA and a childcare centre in Thornton.

“The cost-of-living crisis is impacting families in Maitland, who are struggling with the price of food and childcare availability as well as accessibility,” the latter said.

“The Nationals are committed to being a voice for regional Australia and will continue to fight for common sense and practical solutions.”

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