Long-standing concerns over the inadequate supply of affordable housing in Australian's major cities is spurring a spate of fresh residential projects across the country.
Australia’s most populous urban centre provides a classic example, with supply long stymied in Sydney’s inner city by regulatory hurdles that until recently remained unaddressed.
The situation in Sydney has improved significantly of late, however, with initial approvals for fresh developments now far easier to obtain than only one or two years ago, and developers for the most part winning their cases at the courts when met with opposition from councils.
Mark Steinhart, chief executive of property giant Stockland, nonetheless observed toward the end of last year that it would take at least four to five years to remedy the undersupply of apartment blocks in the nation’s biggest city despite government measures to release land for development.
It would appear that efforts by local governments to make more land available for residential development are already showing results, with the official launch of the latest apartment project by NSW’s City West Housing.
The $28 million, 88-apartment North Eveleigh Development is situated in the thriving hipster haven of Newtown, close to the University Sydney as well as the suburb’s highly vibrant King Street.
While the siting of the North Eveleigh project in one of Sydney’s most coveted locations should make its units prohibitively expensive for the average Sydney resident, its development by CWH means it will remain well within the price range for workers on low-to-moderate incomes who satisfy certain conditions.
CWH was established in 1998 by the NSW government with the goal of providing Sydney inner-urban workers with affordable accommodation in anticipation of the wave of gentrification and surging property prices that have swept through the city since the turn of the century.
North Eveleigh is merely one of 547 properties that City West Housing has on its books in Pyrmont, Ultimo and Green Square.
CWH chief executive Janelle Goulding hopes to dramatically increase the scale of the body’s portfolio to help address the city’s lack of affordable housing, with plans for the addition of another 300 apartment facilities in the near future.
While CWH focuses on developments in the centre of Sydney, the very nature of urban development means that many of the best opportunities for land release and residential development will be situated in more peripheral parts of cities.
South Sydney is a prime example, with JLL selling over $500 million in residential development sites throughout the region in 2014 alone.
Major developments in the area include Goodman Group’s $14 million residential site on Sir Joseph Banks Street in Botany; a residential development site which recently sold for $8.2 million to local company Casumo Constructions, and the Chapel Street Site situated at the centre of Rockdale, which was purchased by a private local developer for $48 million.
In other major cities, developers are also pursuing opportunities in peripheral areas, setting their sights on quaint, older communities that are just now beginning to fall within the ambit of expanding metropolitan areas.
Investa Land has teamed up with a raft of home builders to transform the historic town of Diggers Rest, located just half an hour from downtown Melbourne, into new residential hub.
The company’s 1,400-lot Bloomdale development is expected to house at least 3,800 new residents, providing them with a reasonable commute time to the CBD as well as a comparatively bucolic lifestyle, with access to wetlands, open spaces and neighbourhood parks, as well as 40 kilometres of walking paths and cycling tracks.