Tackling the high costs of Sydney housing

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New Zealand’s, and particularly Auckland’s, housing affordability issue is also a problem across the Tasman, with the City of Sydney seeking answers to the city’s growing housing affordability challenges with the help of industry experts, community representatives and the general public in twin events.

An industry summit, Fixing Sydney’s Housing Crisis, was held recently, followed by a CityTalks Sydney public event that covered the same topic.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said development of affordable housing within the city’s inner suburbs for essential workers and emergency, retail and hospitality professionals had become a pressing issue.

“Median rental prices have grown by almost 60% since 2006, while household incomes have only grown by an estimated 48% in our area,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Eighty four per cent of lower income households in the City of Sydney are in housing stress, spending more than 30% of their gross income on housing.

“We need to generate a solution to solve this growing social problem.”

The invitation-only industry summit saw a cross-section of leading experts from the housing sector help shape the City’s housing policy.

Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley and University of Sydney urban planner Professor Nicole Gurran headlined the summit.

Together with government representatives, the finance sector, developers and affordable housing providers, they were to discuss ways to deliver safe, quality homes for the diverse population of the inner city.

Members of the public were then invited to attend a CityTalks Sydney event to hear from a panel of experts as they discussed the housing crisis.
Affordable housing is the responsibility of state and federal governments.

But the City of Sydney supports the supply by selling land at discounted prices, contributing to remediation costs, creating rooms that can be rented as affordable housing, and through its own planning policies.

Space set aside by developers

In negotiations with the City, developers set aside space for affordable housing, and they also pay affordable housing levies.

The Ultimo-Pyrmont Affordable Housing Levy was introduced in the mid-1990s, and the Green Square Affordable Housing Levy was introduced in the late-1990s.

Since then, 665 affordable housing units have been built in Ultimo-Pyrmont, and 104 units are set to be built in Green Square.