Housing supply diversity and affordability
A 20-year vision: Everyone in the Six Cities Region has access to a quality home that is connected, resilient, affordable, and which meets their needs. People have benefited from increased housing supply, with more places to build homes across the Six Cities Region.
A large-scale program of building social and affordable housing, including key worker housing, on government land has ensured that people on low to moderate incomes can also meet other basic living costs such as food, clothing, transport, medical care and education. Integrated planning has ensured homes are connected to existing and planned transport infrastructure. Planning for homes of the future reflects the diverse needs of the population, including life stage, cultural needs and multigenerational living. Resilient housing is provided through more green and adaptable homes, and not building in climate vulnerable areas.
A home offers freedom and connection: freedom to choose a living situation that meets our needs without creating financial worries, as well as the ability to connect and contribute to the lives of people around us.
People in the Six Cities Region enjoy one of the most desirable lifestyles in the world, but housing has become increasingly unaffordable. Housing is repeatedly identified by the community as one of the most significant issues facing Greater Sydney. It is also a priority across regional NSW, with Infrastructure Australia recently identifying the ‘availability, diversity and affordability of housing’ as the primary infrastructure gap in regional areas.
|City||Dwelling completions*||New dwellings* - % detached||New dwellings* - % multi unit|
|Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle||21,031||55%||45%|
Housing as a shared responsibility
In some Local Government Areas (LGAs) in 2016, about a quarter of very low to moderate income households were spending more than 30 per cent of their household income on rent, placing them in rental stress. Rental rates surged 9.2 per cent between March 2021 and March 2022 across Greater Sydney, and rental vacancies have been at a critical low in the Hunter and Illawarra regions. There are also challenges around security of tenancy, with more people needing to age in rentals, and older women one of the fastest growing groups experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in Australia.
The housing crisis has been further exacerbated by external factors. COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of various parts of our social fabric, including a shortage of affordable, social housing and crisis housing. Climate-fueled disasters are increasingly driving internal displacement, and people who are homeless or lack access to resilient or secure housing are most impacted.
Providing resilient, connected and affordable homes that support good lives is an essential, shared responsibility between all three levels of government and the private sector.
Targets to improve supply, affordability and diversity
Our cities need diverse housing to meet our changing needs over our lifetimes – from when we first leave our family home, to retirement, and everything in between. This includes crisis accommodation, specialist disability accommodation, affordable housing, social housing and culturally sensitive housing that supports communal and multi-generational living.
A lack of housing diversity across the Six Cities Region means there is often a mismatch between supply and demand for types of housing. The Six Cities Region needs to accommodate these needs and enable choices while maximising affordability, including for our most vulnerable community members. This can happen through providing a full range of homes, from single dwellings with granny flats, dual occupancies and townhouses and low-rise apartments through to larger-scale mixed use development in thriving local and strategic centres.
Current NSW Government initiatives underway to create a more inclusive and sustainable housing sector include fast tracking infrastructure, property tax reform, offering shared equity for first home buyers and revitalising social and affordable housing.
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Improving housing diversity
The Commission recommends that housing diversity is improved, in part, by:
- increasing the proportion of multi-unit and higher density housing in accessible locations that are supported by infrastructure
- ensuring existing and new freestanding homes and medium density housing are connected to quality amenity, essential services and transport infrastructure
- continuing to work with councils through their local housing strategies.
Region Shaper Four ‘Inclusive places linked to infrastructure’ outlines how housing will be strategically located and built in the Six Cities Region.
|Progressing this Region Shaper|
3.1 The City Plans will set five, 10 and 20 year housing targets for each Local Government Area (LGA), including for resilient, adaptable, affordable and diverse housing.
3.2 The Commission will work with stakeholders, including local and state governments, housing providers and industry to identify additional approaches to incentivise achievement of housing targets.
3.3 The Region Plan and City Plans will identify priority housing areas proximate to existing and future transport hubs over the first 10 years of the Plans to ensure supply is increased and development is supported by appropriate infrastructure. This will include diverse and affordable housing adjacent to the roll out of fast rail and metro stations, rapid transit stations and innovation districts.
3.4 The Region and City Plans will prioritise areas for housing developments that are connected to transport hubs and supported by local infrastructure.
3.5 The City Plans will set the following targets for housing to be delivered in locations within 800m of a strategic centre or transport hub:
a. a minimum target of 25 per cent for the proportion of the total LGA housing target to be delivered through a mix of higher density housing types (e.g. apartments, townhouses, and boarding houses) in these locations
b. a target for the proportion of affordable housing in these locations.
3.6 The Commission will work with local councils, state and federal agencies and industry to improve delivery of affordable housing, including new financing mechanisms, with a 10 per cent affordable housing target for all rezonings where there will be a housing uplift.
3.7 The City Plans will set a target of up to 30 per cent for the proportion of social and affordable housing in residential developments on government land.