Using Sydney's 600,000 vacant bedrooms could boost productivity: EY

Using Sydney's 600,000 vacant bedrooms could boost productivity: EY
Using Sydney's 600,000 vacant bedrooms could boost productivity: EY

Sydney has 600,000 bedrooms not being used according to data compiled by EY from 2016 Census estimates.

Unlocking the additional capacity within 30 minutes of the Sydney CBD could boost New South Wales’ GDP by $750 million annually, it suggests.

The greatest numbers of unused bedrooms are North Sydney/Hornsby, Outer West/Blue Mountains and the Inner South West.

The Eastern Suburbs, the Inner West, the Inner South West and Parramatta have a high number of available rooms that could meet accommodation needs between one and five times over.

The most acute shortage – where the number of surplus bedrooms is insufficient to meet demand – is in the City/Inner South.

The number of spare bedrooms equates to 190,000 unused dwellings, EY said in its report Sydney housing conversations: moving from affordability to accessibility.

The EY Sydney managing partner Andrew Price suggested better questions needed to be asked about solving affordability problems in housing.

"There is a need for an additional 135,000 bedrooms in the greater Sydney area, with the biggest demand in the belt stretching from the CBD to Parramatta; to comfortably house all residents in Parramatta an additional 22,000 rooms are required, while for the Inner South West this gure rises to 25,000.

"While the largest untapped supply is in the outer ring and northern suburbs, there are nevertheless plenty of rooms in the population belt described: 40,000 in Parramatta, 60,000 in the Inner South West and 16,000 in the CBD/ Inner South." 

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Using Sydney's 600,000 vacant bedrooms could boost productivity: EY

He suggests the existing underutilised supply of housing stock could hypothetically meet the forecast demand for new stock for the next five years. 

It estimated if all unused bedrooms within 30 minutes of Sydney's CBD were to house a working adult, that the boost to productivity would equate to an additional $750 million injected each year into the NSW economy.

The report noted Sydney actually had an estimated 1.5 million unused bedrooms spread across 900,000 dwellings, but for the purpose of EY's analysis under-utilised properties are defined as those properties which had two or more vacant bedrooms on census night in 2016 because a single vacant bedroom is often used for other purposes.

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Using Sydney's 600,000 vacant bedrooms could boost productivity: EY

"Of course in reality, the housing problem is not just about bedrooms," Price acknowledges.

"Households want to live in a self-contained way, and not share utilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.

"However if a small number of households with spare room capacity were prepared to move to more appropriate sized accommodation, this could make a signifcant contribution to addressing the problem.

"A redistribution of housing stock that saw surplus bedroom capacity in key hotspots utilised more fully would go a long way to easing housing pressures," he says.

Sydney vacancy rates have hit a four year high.

 

 
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