Finding room in Hobart

The Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman has called an urgent summit for next week to address the state’s housing shortage.

Mr Hodgman said the summit would be held in Hobart and would bring together "experts from across the state in key sectors", including representatives from Local Government.

"We will be extending an invitation to peak bodies like TasCOSS and Shelter Tasmania, as well as key stakeholders from the housing, building and construction, property, real estate, Local Government, non-government and university sectors.

"By working together, I am confident we can identify practical actions that provide immediate assistance to Tasmanians in need."

A group of families unable to find a house have been camping at the Hobart Showgrounds at Glenorchy.

Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston told ABC Radio Hobart affordable housing had been a key focus for the council.

She said the council had been working with the Hobart City Council on long-term plans to unlock unused land for affordable housing to be built. "Right now we are seeing a crisis and that needs an immediate response, especially as we’re approaching winter where it’s unacceptable to have people sleeping in tents."

She said it was "heartbreaking" to see families camped at the showgrounds.

Hobart has the lowest capital city rental vacancy rate, at just 0.3 per cent.

The Real Estate Institute of Tasmania’s president Tony Collidge said,  "We're actually seeing dire shortages in terms of the number of properties that are available to rent. Likewise a dire shortage in the number of properties that are for sale.

"The Government has almost become a victim of its own success, in that it's created a tourism market that's booming, it's created and encouraged foreign students to come here for education purposes and that's booming, and it's grown its economy and grown employment and we've got people coming here to live."

Another factor in the shortage is that many former rental properties are disappearing from the market after being converted into short-term accommodation or Airbnbs.