Property developers across the Greater Sydney area may be forced to hand over up to ten percent of their dwellings on new housing or apartment construction projects to community housing providers under a new plan to address housing affordability concerns across the region.

Unveiling the plan as part of its draft 40-year vision for the Greater Sydney metropolitan area, the Greater Sydney Commission has proposed that dwellings which occupy between five and ten percent of floor space in new areas which are approved for development will be set aside and given to community housing providers who will then use the space to provide affordable rental housing to households earning less than $67,000 per year.

According to the Commission’s proposals, the draft rules will apply to all new floor space (above the existing permissible floor space) on any greenfield or urban renewal precincts within areas that have been shown to have a current or future need for affordable rental housing.

The dwellings, which will need to include a mixture of one, two and three bedroom homes, will be secured by the relevant planning authority and passed on to a community housing provider to manage and be rented out to those on low and modest incomes.

In its plan, the Commission said that the Greater Sydney housing market is recognised as one of the least affordable markets in the world.

In its most recent Rental Affordability Index, for example, SGS Economics and Planning found that rental affordability within the Greater Sydney region was extremely low, with even average income household having to fork out 28 percent of their income for rent and very few affordable rental properties being available for those on modest incomes except for areas west of Parramatta.

Community housing providers welcomed the idea.

Wendy Hayhurst from the NSW Federation of Housing Associations said the new targets would help ensure that the whole community benefited from the windfalls which are created when land is rezoned through public investment and government policies rather than simply the development sector.

“This is good news for the thousands of low income workers and families who are being forced further and further out of our city by the cost of rents and house prices,” Hayhurst said.

But Urban Taskforce chief executive officer Chris Johnson said slammed the idea, saying that the new proposal would increase the cost of all new housing as costs associated with giving up to ten percent of dwellings away will need to be recouped across the remainder of the homes.

Instead, he proposes an alternative whereby new projects be given bonuses of 20 percent extra floor space provided that this was used for affordable housing.

“The plans use a false logic that by requiring developers to provide up to ten percent of new housing as affordable this will help with Sydney’s rapidly escalating house prices,” Johnson said.

“Clearly the cost of giving away ten percent of new homes will have to be distributed across the other 90 percent of new homes therefore forcing house prices up.”

  • I have always said the Gough Whitlam did the poor a favour by removing the tariffs on clothes. We lost a couple of thousand factory jobs and we gained 90,000 other jobs; as shops & customers were created for the cheaper clothes.
    The industry was very unproductive and big money was made by those in the know. One very young friend stepped off a ship in Port Melbourne and within a few years made a fortune churning out cheap shoddy clothes in the inner city slums.
    The worst part of the scene was the attack on people’s dignity who lived in rags or their work clothes seven days a week.
    The system was so corrupt that it was worthwhile smuggling cloth and selling it to the poor working class.
    We need to do the same with the building industry.
    Someone wants a roof over his head and overnight half of Australia has their hand out asking for their share including the Government. You hear in third world countries the minute someone wants to build a house the local Mafia comes calling and asking for their share before a brick is laid.
    The pretence of believing in the free enterprise system by the major political parties without seeing corrupt practices under mines the Australian economy and attacks the citizenship rights of many people.
    In the free clothes market today I can go and buy a $5 shirt and I can buy a $500 shirt in every part of Melbourne. We need to do that for housing. Prices will fall overnight if the artificial shortages of land ended and the Stalinist middle classes lost control of the planning system.
    Stalinism and Fascism do not have a long life in any society without disasters, it’s better for every body for a more democratic approach in every field of life. Democracy and freedom is more productive.