Fast rail could help solve Sydney's housing affordability issues

Fast rail could help solve Sydney's housing affordability issues
Fast rail could help solve Sydney's housing affordability issues

Raine & Horne has welcomed release of the latest Committee of Sydney report, calling for the establishment of a ‘Sandstone mega-region,’ linking Greater Sydney with Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Central Coast.

The report by the independent think tank says faster rail could also slash door-to-desk commuting times, noted, executive chairman Angus Raine, who has been a long-term advocate for high-speed rail solution to Sydney’s housing affordability issues.

For example, the current journey time from Newcastle to Parramatta could reduce from 153 minutes to 60 minutes; Wollongong to the Sydney CBD from 85 minutes to 60 minutes and Gosford to the Sydney CBD from 80 minutes to 40 minutes.

Crucially, this network could also create new direct links from Newcastle to Parramatta and from Wollongong to Campbelltown and Liverpool – creating new opportunities and reshaping our region.

“A faster rail network will help relieve some of Sydney’s affordability pressures and underpin long- term property prices in regional centres such as Gosford, Newcastle, and Wollongong by as much as 5-10% when it becomes a reality,” Raine said.

The report also calls on NSW Government to introduce a network of one-hour or less heavy rail connections between cities within the mega-region and argues that building new housing across the rail corridor will help to take pressure off the market in Sydney.

The study argues that an additional 40,000 dwellings could be built across NSW by opening land across rail corridors and found that with improved rail connections by 2036, this network could deliver over $75 billion of housing affordability improvements for Sydney.

“I’d like to see fast train services to Goulburn, and Canberra included in a long-term mega-region plan, as well as a 30-year transport strategy that includes suggestions from urban futurists recommending tunnelling under the Blue Mountains to open up the Lithgow region," Raine added.

“This might sound absurd in 2018, but given Sydney has topographical restraints to its east, west, south and north, we need to look for solutions that will cater to population growth many decades into the future.

“I’m sure many Sydneysiders believed a bridge between Milsons Point and the CBD to be an absurdity in the 1880s too.

REINSW Deputy President Brett Hunter, an agent at Raine & Horne said faster rail is necessary for the growing population on the Central Coast, and to connect more commuters to jobs in Sydney and Newcastle.

The proposed fast rail network would have an enormous impact on Central Coast real estate markets, according to Hunter, by attracting even more Sydney buyers.

“Commute times to Sydney are a major issue for Sydneysiders considering a shift to the Central Coast,” said Hunter.

“We could halve commute times with a fast train service between Sydney and Gosford, which would prove attractive to more Sydneysiders, who are looking for a way to break away from the city’s surging real estate prices,” said Mr Hunter.

“The median house price for Avoca Beach is under $900,000 despite the spike in Sydney buyer numbers over the last few years.

“However, we’d need to see work begin on a fast rail service before we could predict the longer- term impact on values in Avoca Beach, Terrigal, McMasters Beach and Copacabana,” said Mr Hunter.

The state government has already seeking ways to encourage more Sydneysiders to move to the Central Coast, a move Hunter supports.

“A fast rail from Sydney to the Central Coast would enable people to enjoy the intimate coastal lifestyle of the Central Coast but still earn a living in Sydney.”

Housing Affordability Public Transport

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