$30 million a drop in the ocean for regions struggling to ease housing pressures
UDIA NSW cautiously welcomes today’s announcement by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole of a new $30million Regional Housing Fund to deliver local infrastructure that supports housing in some regional areas, but insists that NSW Government must do much more to boost regional housing supply and affordability.
This investment is seen as an encouraging first step in implementing the recommendations from the Regional Housing Taskforce and represents a much needed boost to those councils who are eligible for funding to spend on enabling infrastructure and public spaces.
UDIA NSW CEO Steve Mann said “Regional markets represent a third of new housing supply in NSW and these communities have felt the full extent of the housing supply and affordability crisis.”
Residential vacancy in these key regions has been at record lows since 2020, showing that demand for homes is dramatically outpacing supply. Building more houses to meet demand is not easy, with 70% of residential lots which could be developed in the regions still requiring crucial infrastructure before development can occur. The impact of this supply shortage is severe, with the price of houses in regional NSW having jumped by over a third in the last year, and with some markets experiencing price growth of over 50%. This has put pressure on rental markets, with some regional rental markets such as Broulee having seen weekly rents double over the same period.
“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build durable, development-ready supply pipelines that can meet demand, produce a more balanced housing market and make home ownership more affordable and UDIA is keen to see further investment made available to the regional councils that are experiencing the highest rates of growth and are under the worst housing supply pressures” said Mr Mann.
UDIA recently released Building Blocks Reports that show the Hunter region needs $522 million to unlock 41,000 homes and the Illawarra Shoalhaven region needs $137 million to unlock 22,000 homes. It is clear that much more work is needed to unlock housing supply and address the housing affordability crisis gripping these areas.
UDIA Hunter Chapter Chair Geoffrey Rock and Illawarra Chapter Chair Simon Kersten were understandably cautious about the announcement of a regional program that does not include their regions. “If the NSW Government is serious about delivering housing supply in the regions, it must commit to serious investments to deliver the critical enabling infrastructure that has already clearly been identified,” they said.
UDIA Central Coast Chapter Chair Caine King said “We are pleased to see that the Central Coast Council made the short list, however $1.4 million is really just a drop in the ocean when we know that the Coast needs $186 million in infrastructure to unlock those houses as identified in the UDIA NSW Building Blocks Central Coast Report. UDIA’s significant piece of research details the water, sewer, roads and power projects that need to be delivered before 12,000 new homes can be built on the Coast.
UDIA sees it as encouraging that the government is continuing to work on addressing this problem, and looks forward to the government’s next announcement which needs to be a game changer in terms of proportional investment in the regions and should include these recommendations from UDIA’s Submission to the Taskforce:
- Establish enhanced UDP Committees and better cross-government coordination effectively plan for adequate housing supply and support development-ready land that is approved, with enabling infrastructure and biodiversity arrangements in place;
- Accelerate housing delivery by creating a $1bn fund to be invested over three years (like the Housing Acceleration Fund) to build enabling infrastructure, with proportional allocation to each region;
- Create a sustainable housing pipeline by accelerating approval of current proposals and encouraging more housing diversity.
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or firstname.lastname@example.org.