Land shortage blamed for high prices
By ANDY PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org A SHORTAGE of new land%releases on the North Coast is keeping prices out of the reach of most first home buyers.
That was the message from members of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) at a meeting with National Party MLC Melinda Pavey in Ballina last Friday.
Ms Pavey is chairperson of the Liberal/Nationals North Coast Task Force and said the aim of the meeting was to hear first-hand the concerns of local builders.
“Land release is a real problem, they were all bemoaning the fact there is no land,” she said. “Some of the builders actually said there was something like 500 blocks available, but developers were not releasing them. They’re dripping them out in order to keep the price high.
“We need to ensure there is entry-level pricing for young people, as well as retirees, or else there will be no one to look after us. I think there could be opportunities for inland communities such as Kyogle and Casino. They still have good lifestyle opportunities, they’re near rivers, not too far from the beach and they have a great climate.
“We need to bring our river towns into play. A lot of inland areas were once the strength of the timber and farming industries. Now people have moved to the coast, but there will be a natural progression to move back, which will have the effect of revitalising some of those communities.”
Ms Pavey said another issue raised at the meeting was a skills crisis in NSW because a lot of older builders were retiring and younger ones weren’t coming through.
“They said many are going into Queensland because there is a lot more happening in all sectors of the building industry,” she said.
Builders also complained of excessive red tape in NSW. They said they would like to see governments work at simplifying cross-border regulations.
Ms Pavey said the issue of rental stress was currently%affecting one-in-two households.
“There are considerable pressures on North Coast housing, especially with high rental demand experienced across the entire spectrum of the market,” she said.