Bonus floor space sought by Sydney property developers to increase affordable home supply

Bonus floor space sought by Sydney property developers to increase affordable home supply
Bonus floor space sought by Sydney property developers to increase affordable home supply

Australia’s top property developers represented by the industry association Urban Taskforce Australia have come together with a proposal to the NSW Government to deliver a new form of affordable housing.

It has been suggested it could produce 40,000 new affordable homes in Sydney over the next 10 years.

“Sydney’s housing affordability crisis is clearly getting worse as indicated by calls for action by Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison and by State Planning Minister Rob Stokes’s recent statement about a shortage of 100,000 homes in Sydney,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson.

“There is a simple answer to providing more homes and to housing affordability in Sydney by modifying slightly the NSW Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy.”

“The NSW government can modify the current Affordable Rental Housing SEPP to create a real incentive to the property industry to provide large numbers of affordable homes across Sydney.

"The current Affordable Rental Housing SEPP 2009 gives little incentive to the property industry to build affordable homes but by changing the formula to give a 20% bonus floor space and height, thousands of new affordable homes could be built each year.

"The effect of the 20% bonus would be that a 5 storey apartment building would become 6 storeys or a 10 storey block would become 12 storeys.”

“The Urban Taskforce estimates that up to 4,000 new affordable homes could be produced each year leading to 40,000 over a ten year period. This would have a massive impact on the current supply of affordable homes across Sydney at a scale we have never seen before.”

“The Urban Taskforce proposal uses the definition of affordable housing from the Federal Government’s National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS) where newly built 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom homes are rented at a 20 percent discount to the market rent of each local government area with dwellings remaining in the affordable housing scheme for up to 10 years. At the end of the 10 years the homes are sold back to the general market. This proposal ensures that affordable housing stock is constantly renewed and does not become run down. The developer also has the opportunity to recoup the costs of providing the housing at the end of the ten year period which ensures there is sufficient incentive to encourage developers to provide this form of housing.”

“Some Sydney councils champion inclusionary zoning where the developer must provide a percentage of homes as affordable but this is only another form of taxation on housing production, and will only increase the cost of the remaining houses being sold to mums and dads and first home buyers. We believe that rather than imposing a tax on the developer an incentive approach with bonus floor space is more equitable and more likely to lead to large numbers of affordable homes being built.”

“The scale of housing delivery of up to 4,000 a year along with the guaranteed 10 years rental income is likely to establish a new asset class for institutional investors like superannuation funds who like a low risk long term investment. This type of affordable housing product could potentially inject billions of dollars into affordable housing which currently is not being invested in the sector ensuring there is scale and enough housing for low to moderate income earning households. Attracting this institutional investment will ensure a long-term sustainable supply of affordable housing.”

“In places like the US, Canada and the UK institutional capital has been investing in affordable housing for more than 40 years but for a number of reasons Australia has missed out on this type of institutional investment in housing and as a result has made Sydney home prices one the most expensive in the world”.

“We call on the NSW Government to seriously consider our affordable housing proposal urgently. Our proposal doesn’t put any pressure on the government’s budget nor is it asking for any tax payers handout. It is a simple incentive based system which provides affordability across all of Sydney and across all dwelling sizes. All it needs is for the Planning Minister Rob Stokes to make an amendment to the existing Affordable Rental Housing SEPP,” says Chris Johnson.

“Sydney currently has a housing supply problem despite reaching 30,000 housing completions last financial year this is 6,000 less than the average needed each year for the next 20 years. To increase supply by 4,000 affordable homes a year will certainly help manage population growth.”

The Urban Taskforce established a special affordable housing sub-committee to develop the proposal.

Tags: 
Sydney Affordable Housing

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