Opposition housing plans welcome, but private sector housing development will still be crucial

07 February 2011

Plans by the NSW Opposition to deliver an extra 2,300 housing blocks were today welcomed by the Urban Taskforce. The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said a strong boost in the supply of housing is essential.


No Australian capital city approves less new homes per head of population than Sydney, Mr Gadiel said.


The citys per capita housing supply has halved since 2003.


High development levies, excessive red tape and local politics have crippled Sydneys housing supply.


Mr Gadiel said that the planned release of 10,000 blocks over four years in Western Sydney would make an important contribution to Sydneys housing supply.


Last year Landcom – a government owned developer – sold 1,900 homes or lots. This means the promised 30 per cent increase would deliver an extra 570 lots a year.


Thats an extra 2,300 housing blocks over a four year period.


Every extra home is welcome, but even the very modest targets of the current government require 23,000 blocks to be developed in the next four years in Western Sydney, Mr Gadiel said.


Sydney only secured 13,400 extra homes in the last financial year, and less than 3,000 of those homes were brand new blocks in Western Sydney.


Sydney actually needs between 25,000 and 50,000 new homes each year.


Well need to see many thousands of new homes developed by the private sector if the communitys access to housing is to be restored.


Mr Gadiel said the current housing undersupply meant more congestion, as people lived further away from their place of work, and higher rents.


In the last four years, median rents for three bedroom houses in outer suburban Sydney have soared by 44 per cent thats an average annual increase of 9.5 per cent, Mr Gadiel said.


In the same period rents for three bedroom apartments have swollen by 41 per cent an average of 9 per cent a year.


We need to see lower, more transparent, development levies, and a more flexible planning system that responds to the requirements of the whole community, not just those who are trying to block new housing.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


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