Council’s and developers’ need to step up to affordable housing challenge

The Illawarra Chapter of the Property Council call on Local Government and the development industry to better provide affordable housing at a breakfast with the Illawarra Forum today.

“After decades of undersupply the provision of affordable housing is at a crisis point. Fixing it is going to take joint effort by all levels of government, the private sector and community housing providers,” said Jancey Malins, Illawarra Regional Manager of the Property Council.

Since housing targets were set for the Illawarra, housing completions have only achieved 51% of set growth targets. By 2024, the Property Council estimates that the Illawarra will have a shortfall of 14,270 homes. This pushes house prices up, placing increasing pressure on properties at lower price points.

“We need to ensure that smaller, affordable homes are provided to the market to enable people to remain in the private housing market and not add to the demand for government subsidised housing, which is already overburdened,” said Ms Malins.

Jennifer Macquarie, is the Director of Fountaindale Group, a local company family run business that have been developing subdivisions in Albion Park for the past 30 years.

“Councils need to understand how their planning decisions prevent affordable housing development. When planning controls and developer charges don’t differentiate based on dwelling size, this automatically makes the smallest product the most expensive and least profitable to develop,” said Ms Macquarie.

“If you change polices that unintentionally provide a disincentive to build smaller dwellings, you would quickly see an increase in the development of smaller, more affordable product.”

“Councils also need to take a leadership role in challenging community perception, set targets for growth, and stand firm in the face of public objection to appropriately located, higher density, more affordable development proposals.”

Ms Macquarie added, “Developers can also play a part in being part of the solution. By providing smaller more affordable product in developments, ensuring excellent design particularly in high density developments, and working with community housing providers, developers can act on your social conscience and make a profit at the same time..”

Media contact: Jancey Malins | E jmalins@propertycouncil.com.au