The federal government is considering limiting the number of properties investors can buy, as it struggles with ways it can reign in property prices in booming markets only a few weeks out from the May budget.
According to an article in The Australian Financial Review, the government is looking at ways it can cap the value of tax breaks for property investment as it tackles housing affordability problems, which vary widely around the country.
Since 2012-2013, there has been a 9.2% increase in the number of property investors that own five or more properties, according to The Guardian's analysis of recent Australia Tax Office data.
The federal government has ruled out getting rid of negative gearing according to Labor's policy, and has indicated that it will consider more 'surgical' measures.
The government appears to have moved away from an earlier idea to allow first-home buyers to access their superannuation funds to accumulate enough money for a deposit.
Malcolm Gunning, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, told SCHWARTZWILLIAMS the percentage of investors in the market that own three or more investment properties is only very small, and therefore capping the number of properties those investors can own is only "clipping around the edges".
Gunning said capping the number of properties investors could own would mainly be "political posturing", and warned it could decrease the supply of new properties coming onto the market, which in turn could cause rents to rise.
"It's a balancing act," said Gunning.
Read more about the federal government's ruminating on ways to tackle housing affordability:
Affordable housing in, negative gearing stays, says Treasurer
Scott Morrison says negative gearing rules will stay
Housing affordability on governments' agenda