Go-Ahead for Terraces and Manor Houses … so-called Medium Density

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CAAN Photo …

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CAAN Photo: say this goes up nextdoor to a Heritage cottage … or a mid-century home?

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CAAN Photo: And this one on the other side?

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CAAN Photo: only a few years old; staining on concrete; built forward of its neighbours.

CAAN has already spotted concrete cancer among some new large rendered homes! Including a balcony falling apart!

CONCRETE emits CO2 … Search CAAN Website for the report from Jago Dodson.

The carbon devil in the detail on urban density

To Developers Delight!

CAAN has a look at this report today in the SMH: ‘Go Ahead Given for Medium-Density Homes

‘There will be no further delays to the introduction of a code that will make it easier for landowners and developers to build terraces and other medium-density homes, NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes says.’

The Medium-Density Housing Code came into force two years ago but due to widespread community condemnation, and the support from 45 councils deferral was gained until July this year.

Unless the Medium-Density Code has been amended it allowed for as many as 10 terraces on a 600M2 lot!

Meanwhile the property sector High-Rise Developers continue to beaver away for more approvals … and now this! Originally the Spin was that higher density would be addressed by High-Rise Precincts near railway stations … but. of course, they always want more!

-two dozen councils have not completed planning proposals

Adam Searle, Labor Planning Spokesman said this shows a ‘complete disregard’ for communities and councils

-and has called on the minister to continue the deferred implementation of this policy

Planning Minister Rob Stokes is pushing for medium-density housing to meet growing demand for homes.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes is pushing for medium-density housing to meet growing demand for homes. CREDIT:ANTHONY JOHNSON

HAS the NSW Government thoroughly investigated the likelihood of ‘unintended consequences’ for low-density residential zoned suburbs?

Apart from the injustice of developers having been granted ‘Exempt and Complying Development’ which eliminates the community rights of established residents …

Already across Sydney residents have experienced as many as 8 or more demolitions and redevelopments in their street with excavations, concrete pours as late as 8.00 p.m.; tradie trucks parking out their street and neighbouring streets; roads and footpaths dug up, new piping installed … smelly latrines on the edge of the footpath etc, etc …and this goes on for 12 months or more …

And an empty ‘fugly fortress’ 12 months later … and continuing

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CAAN Photo: a duplex; looks like a block of flats

Along with loss of amenity from the new dwelling(s) built forward of the setback, close to the fence and the ‘new home’ looking into the neighbour’s living room …

And consequences from excavations, water run-off, inadequate stormwater and sewers, creating expense for the established residents …

Developers also outbid First Home Buyers

WILL the Berejiklian Government demand the Morrison Government put a stop to the FIRB Ruling allowing developers to sell 100% of ‘new homes’ to overseas buyers? … Obviously this is why despite so much ‘overdevelopment’ a whole Cohort of Australians remain locked out of ‘Home Ownership’!

HOW can the Medium-Density Housing Code deliver a greater diversity of housing supply for Australians both First Home Buyers and Retirees?

-when competing with money-laundering foreign buyers

Read more about the Real Estate Gatekeepers made exempt from AML Laws in October 2018!

Real estate wins another reprieve from money laundering laws

HOW can one have confidence with all the Planning Law changes … and the evidence to date of oversized fugly fortresses … that sympathetic development will ensue?

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CAAN Photo unsympathetic development in low-rise area north-western Sydney

READ MORE from ‘Go Ahead given for Medium-Density Homes’




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CAAN Photo: Townhouse development where there was a cottage and a market garden.

Urban planner infill dystopia bakes us under concrete

A girl uses a shovel to help plant a tree in a suburban street. A number of other people are helping too.

PHOTO: Residents help to plant trees in their Hobsons Bay street as part of Dr Gallagher’s “Cool Streets” program. (Supplied: Gallagher Studio


bulldozing middle-ring suburbs for apartments and townhouses to house many millions of extra migrants

.leaving millions of dwellings behind from whence they came

Urban Taskforce projects only one quarter of dwellings will be detached houses in 2057; down from 55% currently

-Australian cities becoming concrete jungles as trees and canopy disappear contributing to an urban ‘heat island’ effect

eroding all markers of liveability the urban infill utopia causing increased heat-related deaths


Urban planner infill dystopia bakes us under concrete

Leith van Onselen

By Leith van Onselen in Australian PropertyImmigration

For years, the development industry and urban planners have called for Australia’s supposedly underutilised middle-ring suburbs to be bulldozed for apartments and townhouses in order to house the many millions of extra migrants projected to inundate our cities over coming decades:

This transformation into a dense urban form is to be most stark in Sydney, where the Urban Taskforce projects that only one quarter of dwellings will be detached houses in 2057, down significantly from 55% currently:

This transformation will obviously also see reduced access to green space, according to Infrastructure Australia’s modelling, as Melbourne’s and Sydney’s populations balloon to a projected 7.3 million and 7.4 million people by 2046 (see last row below):

An issue conveniently ignored by these planning geniuses is that in addition to eroding all markers of liveability (see above), their urban infill utopia will also make our cities hotter, causing increased heat-related deaths.

With canopy coverage declining across almost every city, researchers have begun sounding the alarm:

Trees in pots lined up in rows outside ready to be planted.

PHOTO: The types of trees planted in cities will matter even more as temperatures rise. (Supplied: Which Plant Where)

Australian cities are increasingly becoming concrete jungles as trees and canopy coverage disappear, according to experts who warn this is contributing to an urban “heat island” effect

It has estimated this can create on-ground temperatures as high as 55 degrees in the sun.

Compounding the issue, a 2017 report by the group, titled Where Should All The Trees Go, found canopy coverage in urban areas had declined in almost every state and territory…

Dr Tony Matthews – a senior lecturer in urban and environmental planning at Griffith University – has been at the forefront, explicitly warning that infill development is driving the heat-island problem:

Brisbane's older suburbs are more likely to have green spaces and leafy tree cover, cooling streets and homes.

Brisbane’s older suburbs are more likely to have green spaces and leafy tree cover, cooling streets and homes.CREDIT:AAP

“Heat stress actually causes more deaths in Australia than all of the other natural disasters combined”…

Middle-ring suburbs were more likely to be the leafy, cool retreats created by postwar architecture and planting

“The real problem comes when we try and increase densities, which we have done in a suburban context through a quality called urban consolidation,” he said.

“And that has been taken up through most of the capital cities, all of the capital cities, in fact.

“It’s squeezing more floorspace out of less land, so that’s why we’re seeing so many apartments, so many townhouses, we’re also seeing a reduction in block sizes from maybe 700 metres or 650 metres to 400 metres.”

Squeezing more properties onto land means there is less room for parks, trees, or anything other than constructed buildings, he said.

The result is dense, urban fringe suburbs with little greenery and houses with no gardens, parks reduced in size as competition for tenancy grows…

“What I feel we have done with these suburbs is we have locked them into a pattern of heat stress, limited outdoor activity, limited use of the public realm, and all of the problems that come with that because they’re not green enough and in some cases they don’t have the potential to be any greener,” Dr Matthews said.

Earier this week, Matthews was among a group of experts that appeared on ABC Radio National to sound the alarm:

A line of houses on a hot day, there are no trees on the street and little greenery in the front yards.

PHOTO: Western Sydney is one of the areas experts say has been hit hard by the “heat island” effect. (ABC RN: Nick Wiggins)

Looking down a shady tree-lined street, some of the trees providing a canopy above the road.

PHOTO: Shade-providing trees, like these in Newtown, can make a big difference to temperatures. (ABC RN: Nick Wiggins)

Urban and environmental planner Tony Matthews says between 2008 and 2017, Australia’s major metropolitan areas cumulatively lost 2.6 per cent of their vegetation — which adds up to an area larger than Brisbane.

Fewer trees — combined with more hard surfaces like roads, pavements, and rooftops — can create an urban “heat island” effect“Cities become artificially hotter” …

Dr Mellick Lopes, an expert in design, says rapid development and population growth in Western Sydney has seen trees lost from suburbs, including many lower socio-economic areas…

The infill utopia of jamming millions more people into the existing urban footprint will necessarily chew-up green space as backyards, trees and open space are removed to make way for additional dwellings. And this will necessarily exacerbate the ‘heat island’ effect afflicting our cities, in turn raising energy use (think air conditioners).

Clearly, maintaining green infrastructure in our major cities is not consistent with the projected explosion of their populations via mass immigration, along with planning rules that force increased population density.

The first best solution to this problem is to slash immigration back toward the historical average, thereby slowing the destruction of green space:

Stop treating symptoms and address the problem at its source.

Leith Van OnselenLeith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/03/urban-planner-infill-dystopia-bakes-us-under-concrete/

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CAAN Photo: A case in point with concrete rendered duplex allowing for little yard; nextdoor a post-war cottage with shrubs and trees in a garden

STUDY confirms that DEVELOPMENT contributes to Urban Heat

Doctor Sebastian Phautsch from WSU said:

‘ …. In new housing estates where you have small blocks almost completely covered by houses with black roofs, it means there is simply no space to grow a meaningful canopy. …

The process of developing Western Sydney contributes massively to urban heat. And we know how much growth is planned in this area, particularly with the new Western Sydney Airport and associated Aerotropolis precinct.

Especially with the Greenfields Housing Code and lots as tiny as 200M2 X 6M wide! It’s about greed, isn’t it? As with the high-rise storey upon storey the developer makes a motza! AND having an enormous buyer market to draw from overseas … particularly from China with its 1.4 Billion people.

RELATED ARTICLE that reveals how the property sector draws on ‘expert opinion’ to boost their coffers through overdevelopment …


Study confirms that development contributes to urban heat

NEWS |  Editorial Desk AAU  12 Feb 2020Aerial photograph of the Penrith CBD.1/1VIEW GALLERY

Aerial photograph of the Penrith CBD.

Image: Saberwyn/Wikimedia Commons

Early results from a study of urban heat effects in Penrith in Western Sydney confirm that development contributes to the phenomenon, researchers say.

The 120 sensors were installed before summer in 2019 by researchers from Western Sydney University. The sensors were clustered at ten locations and recorded temperatures every ten minutes, with more than 46,000 data points collected over a five-week period that began on 12 December 2019.

On 4 January the top recorded temperature in Penrith was 48.9 degrees. Doctor Sebastian Phautsch from WSU said that on that day, temperatures varied across the city.

Tench Reserve was a relatively cooler 45.2 degrees on that record breaking day, while St Marys reached 48.8 degrees. The difference between the two places is, one is dominated by green and blue infrastructure, while the other has a high proportion of hard urban surfaces,” he said.

*“Without trees, summer heat becomes unbearable. In new housing estates where you have small blocks almost completely covered by houses with black roofs, it means there is simply no space to grow a meaningful canopy.

Penrith mayor Ross Fowler said the data would be used to inform and justify the city’s strategy for addressing urban heat through planning and design.

“We know anecdotally there can be vast temperature differences across our region,” he said, “But until now, we’ve lacked evidence to support and correlate this. Collecting heat data this summer will help scientifically inform decision making for our city and tackle rising urban heat. Importantly it also allows Council to advocate the business case to industry, the community and government, for doing things differently.

Pfautsch said that the high levels of development in Western Sydney were a major contributor to higher temperatures in the region, and that the massive amount of development planned for the area had the potential to worsen the problem.

“The process of developing Western Sydney contributes massively to urban heat,” he said. “And we know how much growth is planned in this area, particularly with the new Western Sydney Airport and associated Aerotropolis precinct.”

“Unless we execute this with considerations for urban heat at the very forefront of our planning, 50-degree-plus summers will unfortunately become Western Sydney’s reality. The heat difference already measured on 4 January, between Tench Reserve and St Mary’s, is just a precursor of what lies ahead for Penrith.”

*The full data set will be available in mid 2020.

SOURCE: https://architectureau.com/articles/study-confirms-development-contributes-to-urban-heat/



SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE for more Reports!




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LENDLEASE Property Chief Kylie Rampa has risen to become one of the most senior women in the industry: Photo The Australian



PAGE 13 …  we summarise here …

AN exclusive that says the Australian property market is set
for an upturn in 2020 … that credit for housing was becoming easier to get with the end of the Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial sector  … lending is starting to free up … it hasn’t
come back as far as it needs to  … as the banks adjust their processes …

That lower interest rates were a positive for the housing sector

The Federal government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
would add to demand in 2020

HOWEVER, this Scheme has been debunked! *

VIEW:   https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2020/01/03/theres-just-a-handful-of-sydney-suburbs-cheap-enough-to-qualify-for-the-governments-first-home-loan-scheme/

AUCTION clearance rates in the high 70s were now rising into
the low 80s … that there would appear to be some momentum building, but not back to peak market conditions …

That the First Home Buyers Guarantee Scheme would provide a
BOOST to the …

‘GREENFIELDS’ New Housing Market … this scheme is all about
filling the coffers of devilopers and this Greenfields Housing Code is for
homes on tiny lots of 200M2 X 6M wide … a third of the size of traditional land lots in Australia … obviously better than a hole in a wall.

ASK why is it since the Liberal Coalition came to power in 2011 that there has been so much overseas competition and inflated prices for Australian domestic housing?

SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE to learn more!

The market in Melbourne would also be assisted by strong
population growth in the city… well above the national average.  What’s new there?

The apartment market in Brisbane was still suffering from
oversupply which needs to be absorbed.

TURN OVER TO PAGE 14 … where the real story emerges …


-the market in Perth was still under pressure with the end
of the mining boom

THAT 2020 would be a year of ‘Rebuilding’ … the office sector
in major capital cities was strong with continued growth in white collar jobs …

Lendlease’s new apartments at Barangaroo have broken property
market records with the sale of a $140M two-storey penthouse at $100,000 per square metre

These apartments were part of a global property market
rather than reflecting domestic demand.

THAT there were strong pools of capital available from OFFSHORE

‘There have been good flows of FOREIGN CAPITAL into the
Australian market’

Some of the capital has been investing here for the first time
and trying to build out their portfolios and investments

She said some of this had come from Japan, where insurance
companies were now allowed to invest offshore.

However, she said ‘she did not see much speculative development
in the Australian property market from foreign investors’


What about that proposed for Sydney’s South West in the
Wollondilly and Macarthur?  With much Chinese investment? 

Dahua and Country Garden, for example?  …

LENDLEASE was keen to get involved in more ‘AFFORDABLE
HOUSING’ … obviously for the Whole Cohort of Australians locked out of the domestic housing market by the ‘Hot Money’ from overseas ….

That continues to be AWASH in Australian real estate

-with good flows of Foreign Capital into the Australian

-the Real Estate Gatekeepers are exempt from Anti-Money
Laundering Laws (Scomo: October 2018)

BE WARNED a nasty precedent has been set by LENDLEASE in
London …

-Londoners were promised affordable, accessible homes for keyworkers but way ahead of them in the queue – two years ahead, in fact – was the international market.

View:  Every Flat in a new South London Development has been sold to foreign investors



View:  LENDLEASE Sues London Council for Scrapping $3.6bn Housing Deal


AND … It’s not easy being green:  Lendlease’s Elephant Park London under Fire for its sustainability claims

Elephant Park london

It’s not easy being green: Lendlease’s Elephant Park London under fire for its sustainability claims




No photo description available.

CAAN Photo: Page 14 The Australian: Housing set for a Recovery: Lendlease


Read more: https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2019/10/23/country-garden-lists-364-ha-site-in-sydneys-south-west/



An ECOLOGISTs urban sensors show us just how hot Western Sydney is getting

LOOKS like the ‘Western Sydney Burn’ is a consequence of very pooor policies …

WITH high thermal mass from high-rise Precincts … the so-called ‘Smart Cities’ for developers coffers to overflow and NSW INC collecting stamp duty taxes …

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch:

“I wouldn’t be surprised to find 50-plus degrees somewhere in Penrith this summer, because the weather station has already recorded 48.3, and that’s at the weather station site. We could see 52, 53, 54 degrees in some locations, just because of the way that the urban matrix is configured, where you have very little green space, where you have retained heat that helps to accelerate and accumulate heatwave temperatures.”



Cities, places and the people who make them

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch
Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is using sensors to increase our knowledge and awareness of urban heat issues.


Extreme measures: An ecologist’s urban sensors show us just how hot Western Sydney is getting

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is working with Penrith City Council to quantify temperatures in what is fast becoming one of the world’s hottest cities. His hope? An urgent change in the way we design our cities.


onDecember 12, 2019

Foreground: You graduated from the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 2007 with a Phd in Forest Ecosystem Science.

How does someone interested in forest ecology end up installing heat sensors in the city?

Sebastian Pfautsch: My specialty is understanding trees and their water transport system, and therefore their cooling capacity, in relation to climate change, summer drought and heatwaves. Now I’m using all this fundamental knowledge to apply it to the real world; going out and installing temperature sensors in trees, to compare how different species can help reduce urban heat.

We started with this research looking at tree canopies in early learning centres for kids. We looked at the amount and quality of shade in those outdoor play spaces, which can influence the amount of time you can spend outside. We know that climate change conditions mean that you have hotter summers. That in itself creates a problem when you want to play outdoors, because you have less time available to you; you can only play in the early morning and maybe in the late afternoon, when it’s cooled down again. If you design a play space with no shade or the wrong materials, then you create a place that cannot be used for long. In the morning it heats up very quickly, stores the heat throughout the day and only cools down very slowly in the afternoon and early evening. So you then create a problem on top of climate warming where you have even less time available for the kids to engage in play and exercise.

That small project exploded into full-scale research programs called ‘Cool Schools’ and ‘Cool Playgrounds’. I also look at car parks and all sorts of different locations in urban space where trees may not exist, to find strategies to cool these places down. In playgrounds I measure up to 100 degrees Celsius surface temperature. In car parks I see up to 80 degrees surface temperature. And of course, that layer of bitumen in the carparks has a huge thermal mass and only re-radiates the heat very slowly, contributing to the Urban Heat Island Effect, most notably at night.

“The whole greater Sydney basin is absolutely bone dry at the moment. That means you have very little benefit from evaporative cooling, which has far reaching implications” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

Foreground: How do trees’ water transport systems help to cool urban spaces?

Sebastian Pfautsch: Evaporative cooling happens during that physical transformation from the liquid state of water to the gaseous state of water. That transformation, which takes place in the leaf, uses energy. This energy is provided by solar radiation. So, when water is transpired from a leaf, the leaf is cooled, and this cooling helps to bring air temperatures down. That is the cooling benefit you get when the tree has water to support transpiration.

Heat becomes an issue in summer, and during this time we also have very little water available. That means trees shut down their transpiration stream to preserve water, so they don’t suffer from what we call hydraulic collapse. The water menisci that span from the roots, where trees take up water from the soil, to the leaves, where they transpire, are like little rubber bands. The hotter the air and the less water in the soil, the harder is the pull. You can stretch the menisci, but if you overstretch, they snap. It’s very difficult for a tree to repair that damage, so for prevention they just shut down transpiration, therefore don’t lose any more water. But for urban space that of course also means that evaporative cooling stops. Shading is then the only benefit that you get.

Now, take the whole greater Sydney basin at the moment. It’s absolutely bone dry out there. That means you have very, very little benefit from evaporative cooling, which has far reaching implications, much more than local shade, as evaporative cooling cools the air and not just the surface. Therefore, evaporative cooling is reaching far beyond your actual tree.

Urban heat accumulates in exposed hard surfaces, such as roads.
Heat accumulates in exposed hard surfaces, such as roads and car parks.

“Green infrastructure is vital to provide a liveable climate for Western Sydney. Without trees, it just becomes unbearable” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

*Foreground: Is the solution to urban heat problems simply planting more trees?

*Sebastian Pfautsch: No. At the moment, it’s the Premier’s priority to get five million trees into the Greater Sydney Basin by 2030. Well, planting five million trees is very difficult, just to find the space, but keeping them alive to develop a large crown is even more difficult. Then knowing if we run into dry summers, they will just not provide any transpirative cooling benefits. It raises a lot of questions. Just think about what it means to grow these additional trees under the current water restrictions. Every new tree in the ground is super, but tackling urban heat requires more.

*We know that green infrastructure is vital when you want to provide a livable climate for a place like Western Sydney. Without trees, summer heat just becomes unbearable. In the new developments out West, you have blocks that are nearly completely covered by houses with black roofs. There’s simply no space to grow a meaningful canopy. This situation means we need to rethink how we plan, build and live. *

“We could see 52, 53, 54 degrees in some locations in Penrith, just because of the way that the urban matrix is configured” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

*Foreground: So it’s fair to say you’re less than enthusiastic about the way Western Sydney is currently developing?

Sebastian Pfautsch: Just look into other countries where traditionally you had hot climates. People would never ever put a black roof on their house. It’s just completely opposite from what logic would tell you. I’m doing quite a bit of research using thermal cameras on unmanned aerial vehicles, drones. You can just see these black roof constructions everywhere. It’s a fashion more than any understanding of what’s actually happening to your microclimate when you build like that. The house heats up much quicker, it stores more heat, and because you have no space for trees, there is little natural cooling.

You end up with a large electricity bill because you need to run the air conditioning a lot. As everyone is doing exactly that, the additional heat vented from A/C systems does certainly not help to cool your suburb.

*There is cool roof technology available. You can have whatever roof material you want and then just paint it in this reflective paint that reduces the absorption of infrared radiation. We’re using this type of technology also on roads and car parks these days. So, this stuff is available, but nobody out west is putting it on. *

Foreground: Tell us a little bit about your work with Penrith City Council. What’s driving this project?

Sebastian Pfautsch: Penrith is the hottest place in the greater Sydney area. They only have one weather station available to them, which is out at the Sailing and Regatta Stadium, so it’s close to water plus a lot of open green space. And that’s where the official measurements for temperature for Penrith come from. I know from my previous studies with Parramatta, Cumberland, Campbelltown, that once you move away from those weather stations and you get into urban space, where you have hard surfaces, buildings, traffic, and so on, you have very different temperatures. We saw that you could have discrepancies of up to 22 more days above 40 degrees recorded in urban space compared to a weather station from the Bureau of Meteorology.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find 50-plus degrees somewhere in Penrith this summer, because the weather station has already recorded 48.3, and that’s at the weather station site. We could see 52, 53, 54 degrees in some locations, just because of the way that the urban matrix is configured, where you have very little green space, where you have retained heat that helps to accelerate and accumulate heatwave temperatures. I recorded a heatwave in Campbeltown at the end of last year where you had nine consecutive days above 38 degrees, from the 25th of December to the second of January 2019. And that was last year, which wasn’t an extraordinarily hot summer. But this coming summer might be.

We are excited to get to show some of our research at the Cooling the City Masterclass event. Our research and the event are parts of the larger strategy by Penrith Council to raise awareness around the serious impacts heat has on so many aspects of urban life.

Unshaded footpaths can hold heat within the landscape for long periods of time.
Unshaded footpaths can hold heat within the landscape for long periods of time.

“Once they see the evidence, people will hopefully start to think about what they’re locking themselves into. The way we develop Western Sydney at the moment can’t continue” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

Foreground: What are you hoping to achieve with your Penrith project?

*Sebastian Pfautsch: To really wake people up, make them aware of the dangerous levels of heat we are already exposing ourselves to, and then use that information to have a go at how we build in the West. Because once they see the evidence, people will hopefully start to think about what they’re locking themselves into.

*The way we develop western Sydney at the moment can’t continue. All of these developments use the same principle of squeezing as many free-standing houses as possible into a limited space.

CAAN: THE Greenfields Housing Code of lots as tiny as 200M2 X 6M wide and the Medium Density Housing Code with as many as 10 terraces on a 600M2 lot! Bigger profits for developers … with a large client base from overseas ,,,

*Sebastian Pfautsch: Where space is very expensive, you chop it up into little blocks. You have very little space left for gardens or communal green space. You have lots of space that you plaster with concrete or bitumen. You provide, for example, walkways in each of those new developments, on both sides of the streets. But nobody’s walking there anymore – it’s too hot!

So why do we need two sides with walkways? Could we just have one, and then make the other green again?

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch conducting field research in urban heat.
Dr Sebastian Pfautsch conducting field research in urban heat.

The data that we collected for Cumberland is already used to inform their master plan and the development control plan. Campbelltown is using the findings from the report that I presented to them for their strategic planning.

I would like to see councils starting to advertise ‘cool zones’, urban areas dominated by green infrastructure. I put this in these reports as a recommendation, to increase public awareness of the cooling value of parks and other green space.

“The fact is we still see a net canopy decline across the Greater Sydney basin, even with all the councils pushing for more green infrastructure” – Dr Sebastian Pfautsch @westernsydneyu

Foreground: So how would we go about getting more water into the landscape in these urban environments?

Sebastian Pfautsch: There’s a big push towards water sensitive urban design and opening up surfaces instead of providing more and more impervious surfaces.

*You can do that for example in carparks and driveways by using compacted sandstone or other porous materials instead of bitumen, which allows water to seep through and become available for plants.

In the middle of streets, you can have green spaces and angle the street towards those green spaces, so that when you have water runoff, it actually flows into the areas where you want to grow plants, including trees. Currently runoff flows to the curb and down the drainage system.

Of course, we very quickly run into problems again when it comes to regulations, because road safety, for example, is a big issue when planting trees. There are certain minimum distances that you have to keep. So it’s very difficult to shade a four lane street with big canopy trees. Yet we know that streets are contributing massively to the Urban Heat Island Effect. These are issues that we need to talk about. We need people to have a solid understanding of the current situation, its complexity, and then start to move towards informed decisions that provide real cooling.

*We want to settle another 1.8 million people out in Western Sydney. There’s a clear conflict for water. But I keep saying we just need to think smarter about how we keep that water in Western Sydney. Sponge city is a nice graphic word for this way of thinking. On average, we still get seven to eight hundred millimetres of annual rainfall in the Sydney basin. Climate change predictions say that this overall amount will not change.

*Now we need to find ways to keep the water where it falls instead of channeling it out of the city. That would mean with 800 millimetres of water available, we can grow as many trees as we want. That’s not a problem. The question is much more about conflict for space. When you want to put 1.8 million people in, where will the space be left for trees? *

We can already see the pressure from development that is exerted on the Western Sydney Parklands or on the South Creek system.

*How we solve this problem is a matter of public demand and also political will, because we know that urban development will make the place hotter. *

Providing canopy will be vital to just prevent the materials themselves – roofs, walls, walkways, streets and so on – from heating up during the day, and allowing the air to cool at night.

We also need to implement water sensitive urban design and be serious about it, not just dibble dabble around here and there. Have a whole suburb that you develop to incorporate water sensitive urban design from the very beginning.

*Urban planners and architects are looking to build very large systems underground that can hold stormwater instead of losing it into drainage systems.

*What keeps us from making it compulsory that every new large carpark needs to use this technology? We have a lot of useful technology available. People need to apply it.

Coming back to trees, it is fact that we still see a net canopy decline across the Greater Sydney Basin, even with all the councils pushing for more green infrastructure.

This paradox situation is the result of development and because of mature trees being cut down on private properties. Trees get cut down, left, right and centre because they’re not valued in the way that I think is necessary in a world with a heating climate. Large trees reduce urban heat by cooling and shading. Let’s get serious in valuing that. Retain large trees and help young ones to develop quickly. As summers will only become hotter we will need every square metre of canopy in Sydney.

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch will be presenting at Penrith City Councils’ Cooling the City masterclass, 18 February 2020. Click here for more information or to buy tickets.

SOURCE: https://www.foreground.com.au/cities/extreme-measures-an-ecologists-urban-sensors-show-us-just-how-hot-western-sydney-is-getting/?fbclid=IwAR3aVPb0ZRfWfl7lxlvLuSoxy36dkPymwXRFJWD63B9fKv-5whcPGoPZNNw





HERITAGE LISTING will reduce house prices: Does Not Check Out!

ASK what lies behind the objections to Heritage Listing …. and one ought question the veracity of the Anti-Heritage Policy advocateson the eve of the Medium Density Housing Code coming into force

AS Mayor Jerome Laxale pointed out Ryde Council’s move to change its Heritage Listing will affect:

less than 1 per cent of properties identified for heritage listing

a review recommended the listing of 44 “items” of historic significance including properties, public parks and street trees and six new heritage conservation areas

only 173 heritage items in Ryde

OBVIOUSLY as National Trust NSW Director Graham Quint said ” … heritage listing can increase the value of properties.”

A Heritage home owner can always sell their home to another seeking a Heritage property to purchase any myriad of two-storey homes

‘Stress and anxiety’: homeowners claim heritage listing will reduce house prices

Andrew Taylor
By Andrew Taylor

December 8, 2019

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.

Scott Mackenzie (right) said the heritage listing of his 100-year-old house could reduce its value by up to $300,000.
Scott Mackenzie (right) said the heritage listing of his 100-year-old house could reduce its value by up to $300,000.CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY

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.


Sonja Morgan said she was faced with a 100 per cent hike in her insurance premium when her home was heritage listed.

‘It was outrageous’: Sonja’s insurance premium doubled when her home was heritage-listed

“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 residents who 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 Meetingamong the Anti-Heritage Policy supporters were Gung Zhi, Wei Wei Wang, Guanjing Ruan, Silvestor Lauria and Pei Cheng and dozens more!

‘Clashes and Eviction at Ryde Council’


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.


Elizabeth Hetherington said the value of her property had been dramatically reduced after Ku-ring-gai Council listed it as a heritage item.

‘I’ve been put in prison here’: How a Sydney council cost this homeowner $700k

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!

Image may contain: 1 person

Photo: new owner sought to demolish soonafter purchase to redevelop

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is a Senior Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

SOURCE: https://www.theage.com.au/national/nsw/stress-and-anxiety-homeowners-claim-heritage-listing-will-reduce-house-prices-20191205-p53hat.html





Unimaginative TERRACE-Style Houses given Green Light for Oran Park

Again a proposal for 131 homes on lots ranging from 200M2 to 350M2 … the Greenfields Housing Code introduced by former Planning Minister Roberts allows for lots as tiny as 200M X 12M wide

-does not allow for tree corridors for wildlife

-nor shade for these homes!

WILL this development proceed prior to the installation of infrastructure?

A precedent has been set about streets too narrow for garbage trucks!


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

An artist impression of Arena – the approved $43 million development.
An artist impression of Arena – the approved $43 million development.

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.*

The terrace-style houses will be built on blocks ranging from about 200 to 350sq m.
The terrace-style houses will be built on blocks ranging from about 200 to 350sq m.

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.”

Lara Symkowiak.
Lara Symkowiak.

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.”

Mick Owens.
Mick Owens.

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.”

Construction is expected to begin late next year.

SOURCE: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/macarthur/unimaginative-terracestyle-houses-given-green-light-for-oran-park/news-story/91cceaece610e9d187099607c0752f8e?utm_campaign=EditorialSF&utm_source=DailyTelegraph&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_content=SocialFlow&fbclid=IwAR3_VVmwH5uUQRzUb6kR2_9xrWR0eCW3wpdAA-AVGE5RKg5eSupZSXMp7EM






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 … ‘China relaxes capital controls as outflow fears ease‘ April 22, 2018 …

TO free up billions of dollars in Chinese capital to invest in overseas property … as in Australia …


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 incomesnot 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!


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 developer acquired the 89-hectare parcel of land from Landcom in 2015, lodging plans for a 1264-lot project with a $1 billion end value.

*The group is also developing a $1.5 billion greenfield project across a 364-hectare site in Menangle Park—set to yield 4000 lots on completion.

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.

Related: Dahua Sells King Street Office Block

▲ Dahua lodged plans for apartment buildings up to 8-storeys and an expanded town centre at its Menangle Park development (pictured).

▲ 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

.#Dahua Group#Bardia#Menangle Park#M3Property

AUTHOR Ana Narvaez The Urban Developer – Managing Editor

SOURCE: https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/dahua-sells-1000-lots-in-hot-sydney-land-market-?utm_source=TUD+Master+List&utm_campaign=4ffcb7a77d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_03_11_11_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9f25b32131-4ffcb7a77d-188322339





APARTMENT Appetite Up as McMansions Fall Out of Favour

There are still McMansions being built, but there are fewer of them.

▲ There are still McMansions being built, but there are fewer of them.

ISN’T the reality that ‘the push’ has been for apartmentsPrecincts of ’em! And now too terraces, townhouses, triplex, duplex, villas … granny flats … so that there is little else … ?

WHY is this so with higher density?

IS it because building lots have been reduced to as little as 200M2 X 6M in the Greenfields Housing Code ..

IN 2011 when the Coalition assumed power around 27 per cent of homes built were apartments

-in 2019 41 per cent of all Australian homes built are apartments

storey upon storey deve-lopers make a motzer!

-in 2010 the average apartment was 140 square metres; currently around 125-130 square metres

AND … the high costs associated with Strata … strata levy, lift levy, pool levy, a Sinking Fund, and also …

Embedded electricity networks see apartment dwellers paying too much for power


WHY has it come to this? Is it about the Property Sector serving the foreign competition of Vibrants … aka ‘population growth’?


‘So, It has Begun … the Legalised Theft of People’s Homes to enable more Development … Office of Strategic Lands … ‘


NSW INC Expanding the Office of Strategic Lands (the OSL) Over the Christmas Break!’


More about the Planning Ministerial Corporation’


APARTMENT APPETITE UP as McMansions Fall Out of Favour


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 ago to 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.

▲ 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.

Downsizing trends

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 for McMansions?

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!

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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!


Image may contain: 3 people, cloud and sky

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

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-with fewer able to pay off their home before retirement

Why should we Australian Taxpayers, and Ratepayers have 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!

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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 …

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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 Living Centres’ 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 ….

Research >

Domain News Research


How to address Australia’s medium-density housing shortage


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).

Some definitions also include villa units and small “walk-up apartment blocks” as medium-density housing.

Missing middle
Source: Adapted from NSW Government’s Missing Middle Design Competition website.

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, 2016Medium-density dwellings, % of total dwellings, 2016
Greater Sydney259,60114.0%
Rest of NSW112,9579.3%
Greater Melbourne309,76016.9%
Rest of Vic48,2077.0%
Greater Brisbane94,02810.4%
Rest of Qld119,43811.0%
Greater Adelaide98,96817.6%
Rest of SA15,9217.8%
Greater Perth136,64016.7%
Rest of WA18,9267.4%
Greater Hobart6,2766.3%
Rest of Tas8,0945.7%
Greater Darwin6,03610.9%
Rest of NT4,58013.0%
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 2019Medium 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). 

A replication of this study for Perth found a similar shortage across most Perth regions (see table). 

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-3
South-east and south-west-8
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
StateMedium density, % of dwelling stock, 2016Medium density approvals, % of all approvals, August 2016 to July 2019Gap (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. As congestion 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, highly valued

More recent surveys 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 2017approvals 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.

While there was a medium-density construction boom going on, Australia’s population was growing rapidly, and there was an even bigger high-rise apartment construction boom underway.

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? 

Planning rules, which determine where and what type of medium-density housing can be built, are a significant factor holding back construction. In Melbourne, the planning conditions in the “Neighbourhood Residential Zone” limit the construction of medium-density housing in many inner and middle ring council areas. The requirement that new developments fit in with existing “neighbourhood character” also makes it challenging to build townhouses or semi-detached homes.

In Sydney, the R2 Low Density Residential zone, within which it is challenging to build medium-density housingcovers lots of the city.

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, 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. 

Recent examples of community opposition include the NSW Government delaying the start date of its “Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code” in 45 councils due to council and resident pushback. This code makes some medium-density developments “complying developments”, which makes it easier to get planning approval. Another is proposed rezoning in Kingston (a local government area in Melbourne’s south) which is likely to be watered-down due to community opposition

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 for medium-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.

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CAAN Photo: 2 storey Townhouse and Villa development in Sydney’s northern suburbs X 5 large dwellings

SOURCE: https://www.domain.com.au/research/addressing-the-shortage-of-medium-density-housing-in-australia-885162/?utm_campaign=featured-masthead&utm_source=smh&utm_medium=link