Australian leader promises help on housing affordability

April 05, 2017 - 4:14 am

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister is fending off criticism over tax concessions for investors in booming urban property markets after a central banker warned soaring house prices could threaten the economy.

Housing affordability has become a hot-button issue with many first-time buyers priced out of the market, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's largest cities.

Speaking Wednesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters the government's budget for the next fiscal year, to be announced in May, will include measures to help home buyers.

But he blamed state and local governments for causing prices to rise by not releasing enough land for housing construction.

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has raised concerns about a possible housing crisis as household incomes fail to keep pace with mortgage costs.

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