Low-cost housing in new residential developments across Sydney and regional NSW will be offered direct to first homebuyers and key workers under a new industry-driven initiative.
NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts launched the newly-formed, not-for-profit Housing Supply Association (HSA) this week to address the housing affordability and supply crisis, boost the number of dwellings available to house NSW residents and to look at methods to assist first home buyers.
The association, which is backed by commercial property experts and has the support of the police, ambulance and fire services, will target moderate income earners.
The launch comes as new revelations show some emergency services personnel are flying in weekly to Sydney from interstate or travelling large distances to maintain their jobs because they can’t afford to live there.
“The NSW Government is committed to working with businesses, organisations and local communities to address housing affordability and those who are most disadvantaged in buying their first home, or renting where they live,” Mr Roberts said.
“I commend the formation of the not-for-profit Housing Supply Association to assist in tackling these challenges.”
Affordable properties will be made available for purchase and rental through the HSA, with caveats placed on sales to first homebuyers to ensure they are not on-sold for profit. Criteria and allocations for rental property applicants will be determined by a sub-committee comprising representatives of key worker associations.
The HSA will also work with government and industry to secure property exclusively for those who need it most, many properties at potentially 20 – 30% below market value. Property allocation will also focus on ex-servicemen and women and people with disabilities.
HSA Vice President Aras Labutis said Australia was at a crossroads in addressing housing affordability for the average wage-earner.
“The HSA’s purpose is to increase affordable housing supply as part of an industry-wide response to a problem that now desperately needs action, not words.”
Mr Labutis said suitable developments for the HSA’s target market were underway or in the pipeline, with one major property provider already committing 20% of a new development to the HSA for affordable housing.
“We have consulted those groups facing hardship, and the current housing situation disadvantages many of the most valued members of our community,” he said.
“We need to increase supply of housing, and we need to look after those who need it most.
“We have tested our approach with government and the key worker Associations and they like the process.”