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Addressing housing supply and affordability by rethinking land supply and industry partnerships

An urgent increase in the supply of land for residential development is needed across all capital cities and in many regions to address population growth and alleviate peak housing challenges.

Housing affordability is a real issue that requires real solutions. Most Australian capital cities and many regional and coastal cities are experiencing a housing supply and affordability crisis. 

The reported costs of land, infrastructure, construction materials, labour and statutory fees are continuing to increase – impacting project viability and affordability. 

Meanwhile the volume of dwelling approvals across capital cities continues to either moderate or decline in trend terms, with cumulative impacts on total dwelling supply.

The HIA and others have predicted that in 2024, Australia will see the lowest levels of detached housing construction in more than a decade, despite population growth and dwelling demand outstripping official forecasts.

The Federal Government and many State and Territory Governments have released housing strategies and set ‘targets’ for new housing supply.  Unfortunately, policy does not always equal reality.

• Programs such as the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) and National Housing Accord (NHA) aim to facilitate the construction of new social and affordable dwellings and these programs are welcomed.

• The Victorian Government’s Future Homes Victoria is a set of ready-made architectural designs within a purpose-built planning process to fast-track construction of new dwellings. This program is welcomed.

However, addressing long term housing supply and affordability challenges will involve more than public investment in social housing or the identification of residential lots within  ‘800m catchment areas’. Social housing accounts for only 2 per cent of new dwellings nationally. Many areas are excluded from Future Homes Victoria due to complex heritage overlays and planning rules.

Meeting current and future housing needs requires the construction of tens of thousands of new dwellings each year across our capital cities and in regional areas.

This comes about through a combination of major infill developments, small-scale urban consolidations, one-off site-specific projects, large scale urban greenfield developments and the rezoning of rural and other land for new development.

Unsolicited, market-led proposals for large scale land rezonings around Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) should be encouraged and supported, whilst balancing complex heritage and biodiversity considerations.

We are currently working with a wide range of landowners, developers, builders, financiers, non-banks, infrastructure agencies, Councils and Federal and State governments to address housing supply challenges in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

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