He said better data about the extent of affordable housing needed to be a priority, along with better quality standards for dwellings including energy efficiency and accessibility for people with disabilities.
"Before the end of the year, which is looming, we will have a lot more to say about our plans for housing and homelessness and we'll explain how we'll pay," the opposition leader said.
Mr Shorten is remaining defiant in the face of fierce attacks from the coalition and real estate heavyweights over Labor's plans to reform negative gearing.
"We will not be frightened off or deterred by the tantrums of the multi-millionaire property developer brigade, investors who are reaping millions in taxpayer subsidies," Mr Shorten said.
If elected, Labor plans to retain negative gearing only for newly built homes with the policy grandfathered so it won't apply to existing investors.
Mr Shorten said too many Australians were treading water and couldn't access the "bank of mum and dad" to pay for a deposit on a house.
He said Labor wanted to develop a national housing strategy with state, territory and local governments, arguing the latter was too often hostage to developers.
"Developers who use their deep pockets, inexhaustible list of contacts and the best lawyers money can buy to build low-quality, high-density housing disconnected from services and transport," Mr Shorten said.
At Tuesday's event, the Community Housing Industry Association launched a proposal to build at least 100,000 new affordable homes and 100,000 new social housing dwellings across Australia by 2028.
The housing group estimates the plan would halve the number of homeless Australians in 10 years.