A recent report by Grattan sheds light on some interesting data regarding the housing options for people living in Sydney and Melbourne. An earlier report identified a mismatch between the current housing available and the type of housing Australians say they want. Several Australians in these urban neighbourhoods would prefer to live in semi-detached housing that is close to family and the shops. Unfortunately, the market does not provide enough of this type of housing.
The causes of why this mismatch continues are outlined in the report and are numerous. As a whole, people in established communities are opposed to change, sometimes worried that more unit-type housing would increase population beyond the means of the neighbourhood. Projects incur development difficulties in land assembly and preparation, uncertain planning systems, and finding costs to cover materials and labour for buildings over three storeys. With the lack of project management and liaising between the groups involved the trend of no change is understandable.
The Grattan report proposes a new approach to housing development in order to reduce the real estate market mismatch. The process includes investing in engaging community residents from the beginning of the proposal so everyone is informed from the start. By setting up Pilot Neighbourhood Development Corporations, independent bodies will be created as a partnership between residents, developers and governments. Establishing a small-scale redevelopment housing code as will as an association of small developers, universities and architects will promote new technologies, designs and processes and ensure high quality homes are built.
Investors and developers should encourage this process and investigate the demand for housing and the type of housing that will sustain the community long-term.