Facing problems: Garry Scotcher, of Scotcher Homes, says that medium-to-high density housing is the only answer to improve the entry level for first home buyers.
Facing problems: Garry Scotcher, of Scotcher Homes, says that medium-to-high density housing is the only answer to improve the entry level for first home buyers. David Nielsen

Housing shortage solution

LOCAL builder Garry Scotcher reckons the Northern Rivers’ future housing shortage would be best addressed by improving low-cost entry to medium-density housing for first home buyers.

He is concerned that new bushfire building restrictions have limited the availability of local medium density options, and also that disproportionate local council developer contributions in cheaper land areas have inflated building costs.

Mr Scotcher was responding to new figures released yesterday by the Housing Industry Association indicating Australia could find itself 500,000 homes short by 2020 if current trends continue. But what’s worse, almost half of that shortage is expected in NSW.

HIA NSW executive director David Bare said NSW was currently 55,900 dwellings short of demand, by far the biggest in the country.

“This shortage is set to worsen without a plan from the NSW Government to ensure well located, affordable land is readily available,” he said.

“Furthermore, planning restrictions, higher taxation on new housing relative to existing dwellings, labour shortages, and onerous regulation on new housing all add to the problem and constrain growth in new home construction.

“The majority of the shortages can be found in and around metropolitan Sydney, as well as the Hunter and Richmond/Tweed regions.”

Mr Scotcher, of Scotcher Homes, identified Lismore as one of the Northern Rivers’ obvious low-cost housing locations.

“The last couple of years we’ve been frustrated by developer contribution fees in Lismore which are about double that of Ballina, adding about $10,000 to the building component of an averaged-sized dual occupancy,” he said.

“The majority of inquiries I turn away are people trying to build a duplex.”

Mr Scotcher believes much of the housing shortfall could be funded by first home buyers if more low-cost options were available.

“It’s those who are struggling to get into the market that need something cheaper, and higher density housing is really the only answer to improve the entry level,” he said.

Mr Scotcher also questioned what he considered the ‘knee-jerk’ imposition of bushfire building restrictions, following the Canberra bushfires, which restrict medium density development adjoining vegetated areas.

 

HOUSING SHORTAGE FIGURES

      HOUSING DEMAND              SUPPLY TREND

AREA    2009-2013   2009-2018      2009-2013   2009-2018

Tweed       5007     9756      1759    5863

Ballina       1753      3463        548     1828

Richmond V   929      1910       242     808

Lismore    1248      2468         510     1701

Kyogle          129       263         64      212

Byron Bay     737       1348        466     1553



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