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