Property owners say new heritage rules proposed by City of Ryde council will dramatically reduce house prices in the area.
The council will meet on December 10 to decide whether to heritage list a number of properties without the consent of owners.
Jerome Laxale, the Labor mayor of Ryde, said less than 1 per cent of properties within the council had been identified for heritage listing.
“If Council chooses to leave all of these dwellings unprotected, they will eventually be lost forever,” he said.
“With pro-development state planning laws, and on the eve of the medium density housing code coming into force, now is the time to preserve what history Ryde has left.”
But Liberal councillor Jordan Lane said the changes were a “Band-Aid solution” to concerns about overdevelopment.
“There has been enormous opposition to this scheme which arbitrarily imposes heritage conditions on properties, often exhibiting little or no heritage value, without the owners’ consent,” he said.
The council’s move to change heritage rules followed a review that recommended the listing of 44 “items” of historic significance including properties, public parks and street trees and six new heritage conservation areas.
There are only 173 heritage items in Ryde – far less than neighbouring councils such as Parramatta (751), Hunters Hill (515) and Canada Bay (545).
Ryde also has fewer heritage conservation areas than other councils.
A council spokesman said the previous practice of heritage listing properties only with the consent of owners had been superseded – a view disputed by opponents of the proposed changes.
“Since 2010, Council has resolved to protect a number of items of heritage significance at risk of demolition via Interim Heritage Orders and subsequent listings without the consent of the owners,” the spokesman said.
However, the proposed changes have angered residentswho said in a letter to Planning Minister Rob Stokes it had caused “significant stress and anxiety”.
“Residents are insulted that we are referred to as ‘greedy developers’,” the letter said. “We are ordinary hardworking families who don’t want to lose the value of our primary asset, ‘our home’.”
CAAN: VIEW to learn what happened at the Ryde Council Meeting … among the Anti-Heritage Policy supporters were Gung Zhi, Wei Wei Wang, Guanjing Ruan, Silvestor Lauria and Pei Cheng and dozens more!
Scott Mackenzie said the value of his four-bedroom house in Gladesville could drop by up to $300,000 if it is given a heritage listing.
Mr Mackenzie’s house is 100 years old but he said it had been extensively renovated twice in the past 20 years.
Mr Mackenzie said a heritage listing would prevent him building a second storey and add to the cost of maintaining his home.
“Heritage is restricting the ability to do what I need to do with my property, to make our living arrangements the best they can be,” he said. “Other residents are afforded this flexibility – why should owners of older properties be restricted?”
The issue of heritage has also divided councillors, with police twice called to fiery council meetings amid allegations a councillor was assaulted.
Independent councillor Roy Maggio said the changes would discriminate against the owners of older homes.
CAAN: Perhaps the price tag of $2M for this Ku-ring-gai property is more about developers landbanking to make a motzer with higher density … they can afford to make such an offer
“What gives a council the right to diminish the value of a person’s biggest primary asset?” he said. “The residents are relying on their home as part of their superannuation plan or to fund nursing home costs later in life.”
But Graham Quint, the director of conservation at the National Trust (NSW), said the listing of heritage buildings and conservation areas enriched communities and was not anti-development.
“In our experience heritage listing can increase the value of properties,” he said.
Tom Forrest, the chief executive of the developer’s lobby group Urban Taskforce, said the the preservation of heritage should not outweigh other consideration such as housing supply.
“Heritage listings should not be a block to progress and also not be used to frustrate efforts to house the growing population of Sydney,” he said.
CAAN: In Sydney we are living with the awful consequences of the Liberal Coalition Housing Supply that was not able to meet the ‘foreign demand’! To lose lovely Californian Bungalows, Federation, and Mid-Century Homes and gardens for the fast-tracked higher density development now replacing them!
Photo: new owner sought to demolish soonafter purchase to redevelop
THE Villa World rapid sales of the first terrace houses would not happen to be due to overseas sales, would they? AND if there was not so much overseas competition lots could be a minimum say of 400M2, couldn’t they?
‘Unimaginative’: Terrace-style houses given green light for Oran Park
A $43 million development has been given the green light for Oran Park – in Sydney’s southwest — despite stinging criticism from a former mayor.
Daniel McGookin, Macarthur Chronicle
December 3, 2019
A major $43 million development in the heart of Oran Park has been given the green light, despite being blasted as “unimaginative” by a former Camden mayor.
*More than 100 terrace-style houses, featuring 131 homes in total, will be delivered on small blocks just walking distance from Oran Park Podium and the future train station.*
To be known as ‘Arena’, the project was approved by a Joint Regional Planning Panel on Monday on the back of stinging criticism from Camden Liberal councillor and panel member Lara Symkowiak.
“I think its an overall poor outcome and I believe our future residents deserve better,” she said. “A whole row of flat roofs in the same style is poor.”
Cr Symkowiak, who voted against the development, also raised concerns about how garbage trucks could manoeuvre through the narrow streets and said the design could have been “significantly improved”.
The development was ultimately approved by the rest of the panel, made up of property lawyer Justin Doyle, town planners Bruce McDonald and Julie Savet Ward, who believed the development was appropriate and would bring housing choice to the region.
A three-bedroom terrace-style house is expected to be priced about $650,000, based on the current market.
Villa World senior development manager Murray Simpson said the company had already built close to 60 terrace houses in Oran Park.
*“The first terrace houses we delivered sold out very quickly which is a great indicator,” he said. “We think they look great and we have received a great deal of positive feedback.”
General manager of Greenfields Development Company and developer of Oran Park Town, Mick Owens, said the project would take advantage of all the growing suburb has to offer.
“It gives people a different housing choice,” he said. “We are pretty happy with the style of design, quite a lot of thought has gone into it.”
WHO is buying? Go figure … when the FIRB allows developers to sell 100% overseas for HOUSING projects of 49 dwellings or less (May 2017 Budget Reg.)
IT would not be difficult to get around such a limitation, would it? Like selling in Stages …49 lots …
MORE about deviloper lobby groups and Masterplanned Communities …
‘The cheapest lots, priced from $319,900, start at 201 square metres‘ … that is more liveable than 30 storey towers … but shouldn’t it be for AUSTRALIAN FIRST HOME BUYERS … WITHOUT OVERSEAS Black Money competition????
AND … the Real Estate Gatekeepers are exempt from Anti-Money Laundering Laws!
PERHAPS among the sales a small number of Australian First Home Buyers have broken the barrier … the minority who have ‘permanent’ jobs and high incomes … not necessarily Key Workers like Teachers, Paramedics, Nurses, Police Officers, Fire Fighters … the best many of them can hope for is a 5 per cent allocation by a Council for ‘Affordable Housing’ to rent!
A NARVAEZ WED 04 DEC 19
Dahua Sells 1000 Lots in Sydney’s South West
*One of the largest landholders of residential land in south-west Sydney has nearly sold out of its $1 billion masterplanned project, with lot sales in the region picking up over the back half of 2019.
Housing developer Dahua Group hit a sales milestone of 1000 lots last month at its “New Breeze” project in Bardia, 50 kilometres south-west of Sydney.
The Shanghai-based developeracquired the 89-hectare parcel of land from Landcom in 2015, lodging plans for a 1264-lot project with a $1 billion end value.
Take-up rates in Sydney’s land market has more than tripled in some areas since May 2019, with 6-8 lot sales per month in areas with close proximity to railway stations, according to M3property’s Sydney Land Market Recovery report.
“Between September 2018 and May 2019 take-up rates for land averaged 0-2 land lot sales per month, per project stage,” M3property research national director Jennifer Williams said.
▲ Dahua lodged plans for apartment buildings up to 8-storeys and an expanded town centre at its Menangle Park development (pictured).
The faster-than-expected turnaround in Sydney’s house prices and improved access to finance has supported the demand for residential land lots.
“APRA’s removal of the serviceability cap and the [continued] fall in cash rates has aided the borrowing power of most applicants,” Williams said.
Williams said that negative apartment market publicity has also upped interest in houses.
“I have no doubt that the apartment market will recover but for now it is one of a number of factors behind a significant resurgence in the take-up of land in Sydney.”
*The growth corridor’s proximity to the Western Sydney Airport and forecasts of 60 per cent population growth to 2036 will support Dahua’s 5000-plus lot commitment to the region, Dahua NSW chief executive Eric Li said.
“Our focus is to deliver sustainable urban developments that meld with the local environment and provide world-class amenities.
“We are committed to building masterplanned communities.”
The cheapest lots, priced from $319,900, start at 201 square metres
APARTMENT APPETITE UP as McMansions Fall Out of Favour
DINAH LEWIS BOUCHER MON 11 NOV 19
Although Australia is still building some of the world’s largest houses, the size of free-standing houses have reached a 17-year low, with implications for developers and builders, reveals a new report.
Aussies were building the largest free-standing houses in the world seven years ago according to data commissioned by CommSec from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but home buyers have since embraced apartments as well as smaller houses on smaller lot sizes.
“There are still McMansions being built, but there are fewer of them,” CommSec chief economist Craig James said.
“Now houses being built in the US are the biggest in the world, around 5 per cent bigger than in Australia.”
The average new house built in 2018-2019 was 228.8sq m, this reflects a decrease of 1.3 per cent on a year agoto the smallest house size since 2001-2002 period.
▲ While the size of an average house shrunk over the past year, the size of the average Australian apartment increased by 3.2 per cent over the past year to 128.8 square metres.
But a notable recent trend is the increasing number of apartments being built in Australia.
Eight years ago around 27 per cent of homes built were apartments.
Today, apartments make up almost half (41 per cent) of all Australian homes built.
“Free-standing houses now account for just over half of all new homes built, with high-rise apartments and townhouses most in demand,” James said.
CommSec notes that the increased number of apartments being built has served to reduce the size of the average new home built in Australia.
“The average home was 186.8sq m in 2017-2018, the lowest level in 22 years. And the average home size rose by just 1.2 per cent from these lows in the past year.
“Through the 2004-2010 period, the average apartment was around 140 square metres.Today it’s closer to around 125-130 square metres.
“The shift to smaller apartments may mean that more of them need to be built to house the growing population compared with free-standing houses,” the report notes.
The appetite forMcMansions?
Australia is still building some of the biggest houses in the world, but on average, US houses are still larger by around 5 per cent.
The ACT took the crown for building the largest houses in Australia in 2018-2019, ahead of Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.
The average house in New South Wales is 10 per cent smaller than Victoria.
On average, NSW apartments built in 2018-2019 were the smallest in 20 years of records.
While houses built in Tasmania and Queensland were at 23 and 21-year lows respectively. #Research
NSW apartments built in 2018-2019 were the smallest in 20 years of records … why would you swap a free standing home to be cooped up … ?Unless you have little choice!
IT’s not difficult to pull this Opinion Piece apart … ‘How to address Australia’s medium-density housing shortage’ …
STOP selling Australian ‘new homes’ overseas … the community are questioning the benefits of more diverse housing types when our Families are locked out by ‘BLACK MONEY’ from overseas! And with higher density we lose our amenity!
–Scomo Govt exempted the Real Estate Gatekeepers from the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation in October 2018
–China has now eased its ‘Capital Controls’ allowing the passage of ‘black money’ into our Real Estate …
AND … with the May 2017 Budget Regulation Medium-Density Housing developers will be able to sell 100% of these projects of 49 dwellings or less to foreign buyers!
–a process to eliminate the Australian Middle Class is underway; for Our Australian Families to be subject to long term/lifelong leases in Build-to-Rent and/or boarding houses; recycling the wealth for the Harbourside Housing Class
-with fewer able to pay off their home before retirement
Why should we Australian Taxpayers, and Ratepayershave to pay for more infrastructure of parks, schools, and public transport to facilitate the ‘foreign buyers’ growing our population?
WHAT about the huge growth in overdevelopment since 2016? … How convenient for the author to reference out of date stats of 2016?
QUESTION that Medium-Density homes are cheaper … in 2017/18 each dwelling in a Duplex development in the Middle Ring suburbs of Sydney were selling for $2M each! On tiny lots of 300M2 or less … Whilst neighbouring detached established cottages were selling from $1.2 – $1.4M …. on 550,000 – 600,000M2 lots … hm …
ISN’t using ‘land more efficiently than detached housing’ about developer profits?
-with common walls; set forward of its neighbours blocking their amenity; sharing driveways
Are all medium-density dwellings smaller? In Sydney’s Middle Ring since 2017/19 the majority of Duplex have 4 bedrooms each!
Medium-Density developers have had to compete with the ‘Big Boys’ in High-rise because storey upon storey they make a motza!
Did ‘Town Planning’ come about to ensure the rights and well-being of ‘the community’? Was it around 1900 that urban planning developed to mitigate the consequences of the industrial age followed by ‘Garden Cities’?
However, now we are moving towards the Chinese high-rise, and higher density model to accommodate millions …
SYDNEY SUBURBS already have walkability, local shopping and entertainment … however with the huge influx of those from our big neighbour to the North our large shopping centres are being turned into ‘Destination LivingCentres’ for them!
Where they can gather all day long, shop, eat, play, read, gaze, chat … occupy all eateries, lounges, theatres, icerinks, libraries, parking … for example, Macquarie Park Shopping Centre, Chatswood, Epping, Top Ryde ….
Medium-density housing is undersupplied in the suburbs of Australia’s capital cities. A building boom has helped erode this shortage somewhat, but demand for this type of housing is rising and will continue to grow.
To meet the demand for more medium-density housing, state and local governments need to change planning rules that constrain the building of medium-density housing in Australia’s capital cities, particularly in areas close to public transport.
But governments also need to consult communities about any changes and also communicate the benefits of more diverse housing types. They also need to invest in infrastructure, such as parks, schools and public transport, to meet extra demands from a growing population.
What is “medium-density” housing?
Typically,medium-density dwelling types include townhouses, terrace houses, semi-detached houses, duplexes and manor houses are (this is the definition used in this article, which is in line with the ABS definition) (see diagram below).
Medium-density housing is also referred to as the “missing middle”, as this type of housing is considered to be “missing” from cities. The missing middle is an apt description of Australian cities, which are dominated by detached houses.
According to the 2016 Census, 12.8 per cent of the Australian housing stock (1.27 million dwellings) was medium-density (see table below). The share of medium-density housing is highest in capital cities and the ACT, and lowest in Tasmania. Melbourne contained the most medium-density homes in 2016, at just under 310,000.
Most medium-density dwellings are in Australia’s capital cities
Medium-density dwellings, number, 2016
Medium-density dwellings, % of total dwellings, 2016
Rest of NSW
Rest of Vic
Rest of Qld
Rest of SA
Rest of WA
Rest of Tas
Rest of NT
Source: ABS Census 2016
*Medium-density homes are considerably cheaper than detached dwellings. According to Domain data, the median price for a medium-density dwelling is approximately 10-30 per cent lower than the median house price house (see table). Other sources also find that medium-density dwellings are typically about 25 per cent cheaper than detached houses.
Medium density housing is considerably cheaper than detached housing in Australia’s major capital cities.
Medium-density dwellings, median price, June quarter 2019
Medium density v houses, % difference in median price, June quarter 2019
Note: This table is illustrative only. The median house price is the stratified median published quarterly by Domain Group. This house median also includes some medium-density housing types, so the true detached house median is higher than what is shown in this table. Medium-density housing includes the following dwelling types: duplex, semi-detached, terrace, townhouse. The medium-density dwelling price should be considered an estimate due to the difficulty of classifying some dwelling types. Source: Domain Group.
The main reason for the cheaper price tag is that medium-density homes are on smaller block sizes than detached houses. Medium-density housing uses land more efficiently than detached housing by utilising common walls, smaller set-backs and common driveways. As land generally accounts for most of the cost of a dwelling, particularly in inner and middle-ring capital city suburbs, smaller block sizes significantly reduces the cost of a dwelling.
Medium-density dwellings are also smaller. In 2016, 45 per cent of medium-density homes had 3 or 4 bedrooms, compared to 69 per cent of detached houses.
There is strong demand for medium-density housing, but there’s a shortage in our capital cities
There is substantial unmet demand for medium-density housing within Australia’s major capital cities. The Grattan Institute conducted a survey in 2011 that asked people to consider the trade-off between price, size and location when deciding on what home they would like to live in, while also taking into account their income.
This research found that when the actual housing stock in 2016 was compared to people’s preferred housing stock (once people had considered the trade-offs), there was an undersupply of medium-density housing (and apartments) in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly in middle and outer suburbs (see table).
In Sydney, medium-density housing made up 14 per cent of housing in 2016, but the preference was for 25 per cent of the housing stock to be medium density (a shortage, or undersupply, of 11 percentage points). In Melbourne, the shortage was nine percentage points (a preference of 26 per cent medium-density compared to the actual 17 per cent).
Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have an undersupply of medium-density housing
Actual dwelling stock in 2016 compared to preferred housing stock derived from 2011 survey (negative number indicates a shortage)
North-west and north-west coastal
South-east and south-west
Notes: Totals do not sum due to rounding. Sources: Grattan Institute (2018); Grattan Institute (2011); WA Department of Housing (2013).
The above research, which uses a survey conducted in 2011 and compares this to the dwelling stock in 2016, likely understates the current shortage of medium-density housing.
On the supply side, the share of Australia’s housing stock that is medium-density hasn’t increased by much. This is because the proportion of new medium-density housing built in recent years has only been slightly above the existing dwelling stock. In Australia, 16 per cent of all building approvals over the past three years were for medium-density housing, which is only slightly higher than the existing proportion of Australia’s housing that is medium density (12.8 per cent; see table).
It will take several years of a higher share of new medium-density dwelling construction to make a significant inroad into the shortage identified in the above studies.
Medium-density housing is barely growing as a proportion of the housing stock
Medium density, % of dwelling stock, 2016
Medium density approvals, % of all approvals, August 2016 to July 2019
Gap (percentage points)
Source: ABS 8731.0; ABS Census 2016.
Demand for medium-density housing is likely to have grown in the eight years since the Grattan Institute survey was conducted. Ascongestion has worsened and commuting times have increased, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, it’s likely that people would place a higher premium on location than they did in 2011. Jobs have concentrated in and around city centres, making proximity to the city and public transport more valuable. Housing preferences have also shifted, with walkability, a key attraction of medium-density living, highlyvalued.
More recentsurveys have also found strong demand for medium-density housing, particularly when survey respondents are asked to consider the trade-offs between location/travel time and dwelling size/price. It’s not just young families looking to break into the housing market who are willing to sacrifice a large backyard for a better-located house. Many retirees also express a preference for this type of housing when looking to downsize in their local area.
There’s been minimal progress in addressing the shortage of medium-density homes
There has been a medium-density construction boom in recent years. Between 2011 and 2017, approvals for medium-density homes approximately doubled in Australia, mostly driven by a significant jump in approvals in NSW, Victoria and the ACT (see graph below). The increase in medium-density construction is most apparent in Victoria.
As a result, the proportion of all building approvals that were for medium-density homes is only slightly higher than 10 or 15 years ago in most states (see graph below and description above). So the medium-density housing shortage (as a share of the housing stock) identified above has not been eroded.
The building industry is cyclical, so as property prices have fallen in the past couple of years, medium-density approvals have declined. As medium-density construction typically takes about one year, plus any delays following a building approval, it’s likely that medium-density construction is past the 2017-2018 peak in NSW and Victoria and the 2016 peak in Queensland. But even with the drop-off over the past couple of years, medium-density approvals are still elevated compared to historical data, particularly in Victoria.
What’s holding back the construction of more medium-density housing?
The evidence suggests that there is still a substantial undersupply of medium-density housing, particularly in the middle and outer suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.
So what’s holding back more medium-density development?
In Brisbane, minimum lot sizes and heritage protection of “Queenslander” houses limits subdivisions and medium-density housing.
Resident opposition has also held back the construction of medium-density housing (and this “NIMBYism” also influences planning rules). For example, a survey conducted for the Committee for Sydney found that people were less supportive of medium-density developments in the suburb where they live, compared to Sydney more broadly.
The structure of Australia’s building industry may also be a factor holding back medium-density development. Foreign investors and big Australian developers have tended to build high-rise apartments rather than smaller-scale medium-density projects. This is in part due to planning rules making it easier to build high-rise apartments in city centres rather than medium-density dwellings in the suburbs. The uncertainties and delays involved in building medium-density dwellings eats into developer margins.Overseas developers have also had more experience building high-rise apartments.
These constraints have meant that most new projects in recent years have been high-rise apartment blocks and detached housing in greenfield developments.
Governments should encourage the construction of more medium-density housing
Demand formedium-density housing is likely to keep growing, underpinned by high land prices, strong population growth, longer commutes and changing housing preferences.
State and local governments need to adjust planning rules to enable the construction of more medium-density housing so that the housing stock shifts closer to what residents of our cities say they want.
But first, governments need to undertake community consultation to hear resident concerns and deliver better public infrastructure such as parks and public transport (and use existing infrastructure more efficiently). Governments also need to communicate the benefits of medium-density housing, such as walkability, better local shopping and entertainment, improved housing affordability, and diversity of housing choice.
The federal government can also play a role by providing infrastructure funding and other incentives to state and local governments that allow more medium-density housing to be built.
Trent Wiltshire is an economist at Domain, focusing on the property market, housing policy and the broader macro-economy. Prior to Domain, Trent spent four years working as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia and then three years at the Grattan Institute.
CAAN Photo: 2 storey Townhouse and Villa development in Sydney’s northern suburbs X 5 large dwellings
‘Under the code, certain types of medium density housing would be classified as “complying development,” making it much easier for landowners and developers to gain development approval.‘
‘Complying development’ means that the neighbours have no say about what goes up nextdoor … isn’t this about fast-tracking development?
Meanwhile developers can ‘landbank’ many lots in a street as they come up for sale outbidding those seeking to buy a family home
‘The code will apply only in areas where medium density housing is allowed‘ … unfortunately wherever a Council has previously allowed duplex development … developers can apply this Code!
-even for estates with lots less than 600M2, 500M2 such developments can be built forward of the setback
-will the Code continue to allow such dwellings to be higher than 2-storey homes?
-the code allows 10 terraces, a manor house – a block of 3 or 4 flats, and townhouses, and duplex on a 580M2 lot
VIEW CAAN Photos for the impact that the low-rise Medium-Density Housing Code will have on established low-rise zone communities!
CAAN Photo: Months of construction mess, excavation and relaying pipes
CAAN Photo: The street footpath and road excavated for new pipes. Neighbours lost easy access to their properties; tradie trucks parked out their street and neighbouring streets, noise pollution, dust!
Much of the ‘exceptional local character’ has already been eroded by NSW Inc …
CAAN Photo: Townhouse development in Lane Cove Electorate where there was one detached cottage now 6 or more townhouses with loss of garden and trees replaced with concrete and paving. A loss of privacy for the neighbours. More than 12 months of redevelopment from demolition to contruction and completion.
How can this Code benefit Australian first home buyers locked out when it is about maintaining the ‘economic benefits’ of the developer lobby to continue to market ‘new homes’ to foreign buyers 100% through the Foreign Investment Review Board ruling and the May 2017 Budget Regulation for developments of 49 dwellings or less?
Medium density housing code roll-out delayed after independent review
The NSW government will further delay implementing a code that makes it easier for landowners and developers to build terraces and other medium-density homes.
The medium density housing code came into effect in 2018. But the rollout of the policy – aimed at fast-tracking the approval process for “missing middle” housing such as terraces and manor houses – has been limited after nearly 50 councils obtained a deferral of the code until July this year.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes commissioned an independent review into the code after the one-year moratorium was lifted in July. Mr Stokes said at the time he hoped the code would be applied in more parts of Sydney by the end of the year.
“Given the significant concerns raised by council officers about the potential impact of the code on local character, and to allow time for local strategic planning work to be completed, we recommend that application of the code be further deferred until July 1, 2020,” the report said.
The report recommended that some areas identified as being of “special local character” could be excluded from the code.
In its response to the review, the planning department said that the deferral of the code would be extended until next July for 45 councils.
Those council areas included Ryde, Canterbury-Bankstown, Hornsby, Inner West, Lane Cove, Mosman and Northern Beaches.
The code was “working well” in 82 council areas in NSW, the department said.
“The extension will allow councils to progress their strategic planning initiatives and demonstrate how they intend to meet their local housing needs,” the department said in its response.
“The department will also use the time to work closely with councils to identify and map areas of exceptional local character.”
The department said that the review “identified strong support for an increase in housing supply and diversity that the code seeks to provide.
“It also found that enhancing local character is important to the success of the code.”
The report’s authors said that they understood that “the property industry, family and mid-sized developers are keen to see the code switched on without further delay.
“Ongoing deferrals can undermine certainty of investment and confidence in the planning system.
“The approach we are proposing will achieve improved understanding and acceptance of the code’s intent and greater uptake of its provisions.”
The authors also suggested the policy should be renamed the “two-storey housing diversity code” because research showed people often thought of “medium density” housing as three to five-storey apartment blocks.
Mr Stokes told an Urban Development Institute of Australia conference in Sydney on Wednesday that he was reviewing the report’s 18 recommendations.
However, he is understood to be broadly supportive of its findings.
Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW chief executive Steve Mann said he would review the report in a bid to ensure that construction of “missing middle” homes could be achieved.
The report recommended that the implementation of the code be monitored for the first 21 months and then reviewed.
Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald.
AND this is what the Low-rise Medium Density Housing Code will mean more of … for Sydneysiders … there may well be several demolitions and redevelopments happening simultaneously in your street!
CAAN Photo: large lot cleared for townhouse redevelopment in northern districts
CAAN Photo: 12 months or more of construction pollution of dust and noise; loss of privacy and many ‘new neighbours’; area rezoned from R2 of large lots and detached homes for higher density of “Townhouses”!
CAAN Photo: A villa site initial preparation with asbestos removal; how many more have illegal removal?
The property industry is split over a push to change the way council rates are calculated that would drive up costs for owners of expensive apartments, with some concerned the measures would also hike business costs.
After keeping secret a report recommending a radical change to council rates for almost three years, the NSW government recently opened those recommendations up to a public consultation process.
A majority of Sydney councils support shifting to a new system. Under the recommendations made by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, rates would more closely match the market value of a property.
The implication of that shift, from determining rates based on a so-called unimproved value to determining rates based on a capital improved value basis, would likely be that the owners of expensive apartments would pay more.
IPART estimates about 5 per cent of homeowners could pay more than $500 a year more under the system.
Councils have consistently complained that the present system underestimates the cost of providing services to high-density apartment blocks.
IPART does not recommend removing a cap on the overall amount of rates levied.
In theory, this would mean that any increase paid by some homeowners would be offset by smaller rates paid on less valuable properties.
But the proposal does not have unanimous support. For instance, shopping centres have warned that the overall proportion of rate revenue paid by businesses would increase if the calculation method changed.
“The current system is not broken,” said Jane Fitzgerald, the NSW executive director of the Property Council of Australia.
“This is the classic case of trying to crack a walnut with a sledgehammer. The problem that councils have identified relates to the problem of large apartment blocks – if that is the problem we should tailor a solution to that.”
Ms Fitzgerald’s concern is that the system would drive up the rates paid by the owners of commercial properties.
“There’s no way to avoid office blocks or shopping centres being massively charged … the amount that you would pay as a commercial office block owner would go through the roof,” she said.
Others in the development industry, however, thought a changed system would represent a more efficient way for councils to obtain the funds to pay for community infrastructure.
“Some amendment to how rates are collected does need to be looked at, at some stage,” said Chris Johnson, the chief executive of the developer group, the Urban Taskforce. “What we’re finding is that council are finding it very difficult to make things work in a reasonable way.”
*The chief executive of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, Steve Mann, said the CIV [capital investment value] method should also allow the overall amount of rates collected by councils to expand as their areas grow.
“Adopting this new approach to rating would also resolve a funding gap related to local government growth and enable further investment into infrastructure,” Mr Mann said.
The Local Government Minister, Shelley Hancock, said the government would not rush its response.
“We must get this right, and will do so in conjunction with local government,” she said.
“IPART’s report recommends a fundamental change to the way in which council rates are calculated which would potentially affect millions of ratepayers.”
SUBMISSION PROPOSED MEDIUM DENSITY DESIGN GUIDE &
COMPLYING DEVELOPMENT CODE
The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) NSW regard the
delivery of a wider diversity and increased supply of medium density housing
stock in the right locations as important for managing population growth,
housing affordability and addressing future housing needs as set out in PIA’s
National Housing Position Statement (June 2016):
PIA is pleased that the NSW Government is focussing on
improving the quantity and diversity of medium density housing supply.
The initiatives should seek to:
improve the range of housing choice;
improve design quality;
reduce approval process time and development risks;
address affordability; and
offer incentives to locate denser housing in accessible and high amenity areas.
The thrust of the policy responds to the increasingly
diverse lifestyles and housing needs of our major urban areas, including
smaller household sizes and an aging population.
PIA NSW responded in detail to the Department of Planning
Options for Low Rise Medium Density Housing as Complying
Development Discussion Paper and proposed code SEPP amendment.
This submission (February 2016) provided precise advice on
the height, setback and floor area design standards for the application of the
code. Our earlier submission remains relevant and is available at:
The PIA submission recognised that it is appropriate to
provide complying development pathways for well-designed forms of medium
density housing in the right location and context, including for:
dual occupancies, up to 4 terraces or town houses and manor
houses focussed in areas of high amenity and accessibility
Complying development pathways are appropriate in any
residential zone where the type of medium density housing covered by the code
is permissible in that zone and the development is not over two storeys.
Our position recognises that there should be an equivalent
incentive for the delivery of forms of medium density housing in comparison to
complying development provisions for detached housing.
This could include fast track assessment, as demonstrated by
the recent award Liverpool Council obtained for their eportal and fast track DA
system for dwellings. The proposed Medium Density Design Guide (MDDG) addresses
many of the concerns raised by PIA towards a generic design approach.
However, PIA remains concerned that some complying
development enabled under the design guide and code will not achieve
satisfactory design outcomes or improve the quality of housing in every case.
For this reason, larger scale medium density development of
over 4 townhouses or terraces is not supported as complying development without
a contextual justification via a district or local housing strategy.
PIA regards the risks of poor outcomes from development of
this complexity and scale cannot be adequately managed via the certification
process. Effective planning controls are judged on more than the speed with
which they allow development to occur.
There is a substantial risk of poor design outcomes and
higher intensity development occurring in areas with low accessibility.
This could result in community backlash and the opportunity
to increase the diversity of housing types could be set back for many years.
This was the case in the 1990s, following community concern over poor design
outcomes from some dual occupancy subdivisions.
For this reason, PIA advocate that Local Housing Strategies
(refer Action L1 in Draft District Plans for Sydney) should set the context via
a masterplan for:
where the proposed MD complying code should apply based on the location of
zones where different medium density uses are permissible – with reference to
where a ‘customised’ MD complying code would apply which could set the
circumstances in which the code applies (based on accessibility and locally
consultative strategic planning); or
where an alternative fast track DA process would apply. This less generic
approach would better manage the risk of denser and larger medium density
development being located in less accessible areas; in which parking, design
and amenity standards that would be poorly matched to the suburban context.
The proposed code does not sufficiently respond to the
setting – and heavy reliance would be placed on the sign off by the certifier
of a ‘Design Verification Statement (DVS)’. Were this element to proceed, DVS
should be prepared by an accountable professional such as a Registered
Architect or Registered Planner (with urban design capabilities). These
professionals should have regard to accessibility and the urban form/structure of
the area not simply a loose idea of compatibility with the character of an
SPECIFIC ISSUES Frontages, setbacks, minimum lot sizes PIA
has already made a specific submission on the minimum lot size, frontages,
setbacks and maximum (two storey) heights for the complying code to apply. We
stand by our recommendations and remain concerned that the opportunity for good
planning and design
outcomes could be compromised by a complying development
approach for semis, townhouses and terraces on very small lots side by side.
In particular, the proposed minimum 6m frontage for terraces
and townhouses on a 200m2 lot is too small to readily accommodate sufficient
private open space, landscaped area for trees as well as parking without
intensive design attention.
The Department has acknowledged the earlier PIA input but
proposed smaller frontages and setbacks for the code to apply for some housing
PIA urge the Department to reconsider the threshold lot and
frontage sizes for the code to apply based on the recommendations included in
our February Submission. We believe that if the Department begins in a more
reserved manner, as PIA proposes, then the higher design outcome can be set
from the beginning.
The Department can then review the code after, say two years.
We believe that this is a more prudent approach, and can manage expectations
and community anxiousness from the outset.
Locational context and accessibility.
There is the potential for the proposed code to incentivise
housing intensification in a dispersed pattern in less accessible locations.
There are advantages for higher density housing being focussed nearer to
accessible centres and where there is greater transport choice (including good
public transport access).
This planning principle is central to the centres focus of
the Draft District Plans. Unless the distribution of residential zones reflects
accessibility, the code would not respond to this aspect of the locational
PIA assert that there is a role for local housing strategies
to play influencing where and in relation to what medium density housing types
the code should apply. For example, code assessable higher intensity medium
density housing should be enabled within the walking catchment of a centre and
The Greater Sydney Commission are tasked with monitoring the
growth and patterns of housing supply and should be alert to perverse outcomes
that may emerge from substantial dispersal of medium density growth that may
arise from the code.
Design and uniformity
The proposed Medium Density Design Guide substantially
reduces the risk of poor built form design outcomes and goes part of the way
towards responding to the PIA recommendation for a pattern book.
Lot size and integrated housing design are critical if we
going to get the design and housing diversity. Adaptable housing measures are
The complying development pathway does create greater risks
of poorer design outcomes. The concept of having Design Verification Statements
is supported – but raises the question of whether there should be an
accountability requirement for the statements to be prepared by a registered
design or planning professional.
The uniform provision of one car parking space per dwelling
does not respond to the number of bedrooms, the local streetscape, the
availability and provision of on street parking nor the availability of other
transport options. In dense and highly accessible areas, such as parts of
Waverley, there is an argument for no parking to be required.
Conversely in parts of Wollongong one space might be
PIA recommend that local housing strategies modify the
parking standards within the code based on accessibility. For example,
medium development within 800m of a town centre or train or
major busway stop could have a lower minimum parking standard.
There is also design consideration on the location of
driveways on narrow frontages to enable sufficient gaps for on street parking
to remain possible.
Garages at the front of dwellings also create a design
Certifier – independence and capability
The code places substantial responsibility on a certifier to
sign-off not just on nondiscretionary criteria, but also the adequate
completion of a Design Verification Statement.
The responsibility and risk increases with larger scale
complying development proposals (ie over 4 dwellings).
The Design Verification Statement will not only address
built form but describe how the proposal is consistent with local character. It
will be very difficult for a certifier to make an informed judgement and
additional safeguards are warranted – including the accountability of the
person responsible for the Design Verification Statement to be independent and
be a registered design or planning professional.
Secondary dwellings, studios and attics
Once dual occupancy is strata subdivided under the code, the
units would become separate dwellings. It is assumed that the current exempt
and complying provisions for the erection of studios or granny flats would then
The erection of additional buildings may not be desirable
without tailored design consideration taking account of the medium density
design code. The code is applicable to medium density development two storeys
The code should clarify the definition and design
considerations for attics and mezzanine levels to avoid poor design outcomes
related to height and bulk as well as poorer environmental / thermal
performance from low ceilings and occupied attics.
Manor houses are likely to be bulky and should not include
Effectiveness (and feasibility) to deliver additional supply
The overall outcome being sought is an expanded range of
medium density housing stock in the right places with high quality design.
Advice from several councils is that the code would have a
limited impact on the amount of medium density housing capacity because the
relevant medium density housing types are only permissible in the R3 zone – and
that typically medium density development would not be competitive over residential
The extent to which councils rezone to include the medium
density housing types in other zones will be critical for the advantages of a
complying code to result in substantial supply.
Role of Local Housing Strategies – community input
The Draft District Plans define a role for local housing
strategies to determine the way long term housing targets would be met.
These strategies offer an opportunity for the community to
inform and influence the pattern of growth base on local characteristics.
However, the interaction of the medium density code and
local housing strategies is not clear.
PIA assert that the application of the code should be able
to be tailored based on the character, accessibility and heritage factors
substantiated in a local housing strategy.
In this way housing growth would be distributed to best
reflect the local and District Plan directions.
Should you wish to discuss our submission please contact our
Principal Policy Officer, John Brockhoff on 0400 953 025 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Yours sincerely, Jenny Rudolph President, PIA
WE suggest why ‘not all families are seeking a large or detached family home’ is most likely due to the cost of what was the predominant form of housing for families for decades with the majority owning their ‘own home’ …
HOW did the suburban cottage become out of reach for our families?
THE roots of this … it appears … date back to the late 1990s when the Howard Government made changes to our Immigration Policy for the Chinese Middle Class to invest in our real estate to gain “flexible citizenship” … to enhance the housing market for developers …
Following which there was a housing boom …
IN 2011 the Liberal O’Farrell Government won the election, and began to change the planning laws … rezoning for higher density high-rise targeting the overseas market … 100% through the FIRB ruling allowing developers to sell their ‘new homes’ to the overseas market
THE PIA made a specific Submission on the minimum lot size, frontages, setbacks and maximum (two storey) heights for the complying code to apply. And stands by its recommendations and remains concerned that the opportunity for good planning and design outcomes could be compromised by a complying development approach for semis, townhouses and terraces on very small lots side by side.
-the proposed minimum 6m frontage for terraces and townhouses on a 200m2 lot
.is too small to readily accommodate sufficient private open space, landscaped area for trees as well as parking
MANY in the community are outraged by the massive impact of the current versions of the over-sized medium-density developments to date robbing neighbours of their sunlight, privacy, views and diminishing their homes!
AS revealed in many articles and CAAN’s photo album …
WHY NSW NEEDS A REVISED MEDIUM DENSITY HOUSING CODE
John Brockhoff, Planning Institute of Australia; Juliet Grant, PIA; Jenny Rudolph, Elton Consulting; & Greg New, GLN Planning | 10 July 2019
The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code has attracted criticism from those concerned with suburban over-development, amenity and the role of state government in local planning.
And although the national planning professionals body – the Planning Institute of Australia – sees an important role for a such a code to facilitate and speed up the delivery of strategically aligned and low risk housing types, it argues that in its current form it’s unlikely to be effective.
The need for a greater variety of housing hasn’t gone away
The fundamental objective is to achieve more socially sustainable cities.
A wider range of housing types and price points are needed to address diverse demands across every housing market in our cities and regions.
The Planning Institute of Australia is acutely aware of the pressures arising from growth, change and ageing in our communities and especially the increase in single households.
Traditionally, Australian cities (especially Sydney) have focused on delivering medium to high density apartments and low density houses.
The problem is that not all single/dual person households wish to live in apartments, and not all families are seeking a large or detached family home.
Only focusing on high-rise apartments in the centre and detached housing in the outer suburbsexcludes people from their community, reduces access to work and increases the community’s vulnerability to stresses, including housing affordability.
“There is a lack of diversity of housing catering to Sydney’s growing, aging and diverse population, with a need for user-centred and people-driven responses to housing affordability issues, including housing type and financing structures.”
In 2011medium density housing comprised 19.7 per cent of the Greater Sydney market and increased by only 0.6 per cent in 2016. This represents 38,000 additional dwellings.
Comparatively, high density housing increased from 20.7 per cent of market share to 23.5 per cent in the same period, representing 80,600 additional homes.
It is unlikely that the relatively low production of medium density housing entirely reflects low demand.
Social research consistently reports on the desirability of medium density housing types among many demographic and market sectors.
Development feasibility is critically important, since land and development costs relative to yield usually favour high density forms, where they are permissible and where there is an established apartment market.
However, the planning system plays an important role in facilitating the development pathways and reducing the time costs.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s discussion paper anticipates a 40 day reduction in time due to code assessment, while the guidelines should also lift design quality and improve community acceptance whether via code or DA pathway.
There is a role for a revised medium density housing code
A code-assessable pathway for low rise medium density housing forms (up to two storeys) would improve the availability of a range of desirable and appropriate housing types where it aligns with the aims of a local housing strategy and the overarching district or regional plan.
A code offers a greater of degree predictability for proposals that are consistent with the code’s design guide.
The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code was developed to improve housing diversity by allowing medium density forms of housing to be approved in a more streamlined manner.
*However, the planning institute remains concerned that some complying medium density development enabled under the design guide and current code will not achieve satisfactory results on every site or local setting.
*At this time, the planning institute does not see sufficient community trust in the certification process to manage the risk of poor outcomes in more complex applications.
For these reasons, certification of complex and larger scale medium density development is not supported without a wider range of pre-requisites being met, including a higher degree of scrutiny of design judgements.
*Certification for smaller or lower risk medium density forms should be enabled where there is a strategic justification in a local housing strategy, and where local character and design priorities are able to be met.
Greater Sydney’s District Plans define a role for local housing strategies to determine the way long-term housing targets would be met.
These strategies offer an opportunity for the community to inform and influence the pattern of growth base on local characteristics, and to zone for housing typologies accordingly.
However, the interaction of the current LRMDHC and local housing strategies is not clear.
The planning institute asserts that the application of the code should be able to be tailored based on the character, accessibility and heritage factors substantiated in a local housing strategy.
In this way housing growth would be distributed to best reflect the local and district plan directions.
A DA pathway remains appropriate in low density settings
Depending on the definitions currently included by a council in their R2 (low density residential) zone, the opportunity exists to go through a public process to seek development approval for dual occupancies / multi-dwelling housing.
*The perceived threat of the LRMDHC has led many councils to submit planning proposals to eliminate the offending definitions and prevent the code applying in the R2 zone.
If successful, that would also mean that DAs could also not be considered in this zone. This result would restrict housing diversity even more than if the LRMDHC initiative was never floated.
PIA does not support such zoning changes unless they are aligned with the local housing strategy.
The extension of the deferral of the application of the LRMDHC for 45 councils until 31 October should enable the completion of the announced independent review into the code.
*Theplanning institute argues that planning proposals related to medium density housing should not be finalised prior to the outcomes of the review.
A revised LRMDHC should respect local conditions and not over-reach
Housing diversity needs to be considered as an integrated element in all council housing strategies, to inform their Local Strategic Planning Statements and Local Environmental Plans (LEPs).
The review is an opportunity to reset the scale and type of medium density housing covered by the code, as well as to consider how a council’s local strategies should guide the application of the code.
PIA recently held a workshop with professional and council planners to consider the application of the Medium Density Housing Code.
Participants made the following observations – notwithstanding the limited take-up of the code in those councils in which it applies:
that the intended built form of R2 (Low Density Residential) and R3 (Medium Density Residential) zones as set out in a council’s LEPs might not be achieved with the introduction of the code;
that community trust in engagement on housing strategy and local strategic planning statements would be diminished where the code is seen as counter to strategic outcomes rather than as an “enabler”;
that the potential cumulative effect of the code in local character was poorly understood;
that many councils had not yet estimated the likely yield of the code – nor its implications for amenity and infrastructure funding and delivery;
that some mandatory requirements of the code (such as minimum parking rates) would run counter to local streetscape and maximum parking standards in accessible precincts;
that the code and its design guidance should be refined for various inner and outer urban settings;
that the impact of the code would not become fully apparent until the industry had certainty of a “development pipeline” to produce complying medium density housing at scale;
That certifiers were not likely to be comfortable regarding their residual accountability for qualitative design judgements.
A theme of the workshop was the potential of the code to affect trust and disrupt locally supported strategies for achieving comparable housing diversity outcomes that were endorsed through Local Housing Strategies and Local Strategic Planning Statements.
What is the PIA advocating?
*The planning institute is advocating for the minister to re-engage and develop a revised code that works as an “enabler” for those low rise medium density housing types that are supported in local housing strategies, and reflected in LSPS and revised LEPs.
The revised code would work alongside the DA process for the more complex assessments that require a greater degree of judgement and public scrutiny.
For this reason, the institute advocates that Local Housing Strategies (as anticipated in District Plans) should set the context for:
where a “state endorsed” modified medium density housing code should apply, based on the location of zones where different medium density uses are permissible – with reference to accessibility / character;
where a “customised” code would apply, which could also set the circumstances in which it applies (based on accessibility and locally consultative strategic planning); or
where an alternative DA process (including potentially a fast track) would apply.
A less generic approach would better manage the risk of denser and larger medium density development being located in less accessible areas; in which parking, design and amenity standards that would be poorly matched to the suburban context.
PIA supports the following modifications to the LRMDHC policy package:
to support a council to adopt the code in a way that reflects the nuance in its area (such as, flexibility in the code to reduce car parking requirements in accessible areas dependant on public transport initiatives);
to allow some variations in the code across different LGAs in different infill and greenfield settings (for example, different minimum lot widths in inner versus outer areas);
only dual occupancy housing types should be complying development in R2 zones (all other “low impact” medium density housing forms to be code assessable in the R3 Zone; and DA assessable in R2 zone);
only “low impact”medium density development types should be code assessable (that is, dual occupancies and below five villas / terraces);
subject to an adopted housing strategy, the removal of, or more stringent criteria, for the code to apply for more intense medium density housing types (for example, manor houses or 5-10 terraces);
improve trust and accountability in the certification of design judgements by:
diverting complex and larger proposals down the DA pathway; or
if aligned with local strategy, to require independent planning and design review under the code (Design Verification Statement) by an accredited and accountable professional – such as a Registered Planner;
building confidence is critical in the initial period of operation of any code so that the best designs are achieved, and they are demonstrably compatible with neighbourhood character;
while the community and industry get to understand the code, allow it to apply for built form only, and not subdivision of dual occupancies in R2.
For a revised code to be accepted, it should be regarded as an enabler of development types supported in a local housing strategy.
It should operate alongside the DA pathway, or even be integrated with a streamlined DA process.
To this end, planning proposals seeking to exclude the code should not be finalised until the review has considered whether housing diversity outcomes can be met.
A way forward
The institute supports the provision of housing diversity across Sydney to accommodate the variety of families and groups, differing households as well as levels of affordability.
With many smaller households, the ageing population – and many wanting to age in place – the Medium Density Housing Code provides significant benefits.
The institute acknowledges that suburbs require supportive social and community facilities, as well as good design of housing to complement the character of the area.
*The LRMDHC has become a lightning rod for concerns regarding suburban over-development, amenity and the role of state government in local planning.
However, the institute still sees an important role for a low rise medium density housing code to facilitate and speed up the delivery of strategically aligned and low risk housing types.
But it needs to be “owned” by councils as an enabler of their local housing strategies, which in turn deliver on regional and district plan directions and targets.
This is why the institute has engaged with its members and put forward elements for a revised code to the independent review that would reduce its risks, achieve high quality design, respect local strategy and strengthen community trust.
John Brockhoff is the national policy manager of Planning Institute of Australia; Juliet Grant, is the president of PIA NSW and executive director of City Plan Services; Jenny Rudolph is the director of Elton Consulting; and Greg New is the director of GLN Planning.
The Scomo Govt Legislation is in place to facilitate the 100% sell off overseas with the …
-FIRB Ruling and May 2017 Budget Reg for housing projects of less than 50 dwellings
-the Real Estate Gatekeepers exempted from the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Rules (Legislation) in October 2018
CAAN Photo: Townhouse development 6 – 8 dwellings where there was one home and a garden with trees; development and disruption for estim. 12 months from demolition, asbestos removal, excavation for garages, construction, conga line of trucks including numerous concrete pours, the street was dug up for new pipes, tradie trucks parking out the neighbourhood …. multiply that with even more redevelopment!
THE SCOMO GOVT AND NSW GOVT LEGISLATION TOGETHER LOCKING OUT A WHOLE COHORT OF ASPIRING AUSTRALIAN FIRST HOME BUYERS …
BOOMERS … please consider not selling! As previously indicated ‘the same players’ are moving across to building ‘the Medium Density Housing Code’ …
AND what it will mean … the bulldozing of our Communities and homes for more ugly overdevelopment and loss of trees and gardens too!
AS depicted in the first column under the current RYDE LEP of 2014 the Council’s controls in the R2 Low Density Residential Zone include:
-Multi-dwelling housing villas on lots with a minimum area of 900 sqm .a min. frontage of 20m -Attached Dual Occs (Duplex) on lots with a min. area of 580 sqm .a min. frontage of 20m
To date these developments required Council assessment against Council’s Development Control Plan, which includes 2 weeks of neighbour notification and consideration of objections
IN the second column NSW Govt changes across SYDNEY after 1 July 2019 (Ryde changes deferred until July 2020)
The following will be added to the R2 Low Density Residential Zone:
–Manor Homes (2-storey flats with 3 or 4 dwellings) on min. lots 600sqm .min. width of 15m at the building line -attached Dual Occs on lots with min. 580sqm .min. width 12m at the building line
IN some Local Government Areas it will be redevelopment for rows of terraces, townhomes, Manor Homes, Triplex and Duplex … and granny flats!
These developments can be approved by Private Certifiers with minimum neighbour notification .no requirement for objections to be considered!