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
email@example.com. 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!
HOW confident can Sydneysiders be that ‘The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code’ will create well designed dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces (up to two storeys) to be carried out under a fast track complying development approval?
To date the experience of many residents has been somewhat contrary to this report from the Department of Planning and Environment!
The department submits that this Code will help housing affordability yet to date duplex units have been selling above the price of established quality housing in our suburbs; they in fact are large developments. Back in the late 1990s duplex were built more in character with the local cottages having 2 or 3 bedrooms and not built forward of the setback!
It would seem that the developer lobby have been able to manipulate higher density of the low-rise medium density housing code due to rezoning which occurred years ago under local councils LEPs. Perhaps back then there was not the anticipation of rows of terraces, Manor Houses (blocks of 4 flats), triplex and duplex of the large dimensions now being constructed! With some estates having smaller lots of 500 – 600M2 one would have expected that developers would build medium density on larger lots of 700 M2 or more!
One must question how the local character of our neighbourhoods will be maintained with the two storey limit when as the photographs below show that such developments are entirely out of character and are taller than their two-storey neighbours? They are in fact oversized in many cases and out of scale of development with the established streetscapes!
CAAN Photo: A futuristic design out of character with many Sydney suburbs. Note to the left of the photo the diminished home overshadowed and impacted by this dual occ.
CAAN Photo: Two dual occs side by side; the second dual occ is of a similar design with huge impact; concrete build emitting Co2. Note the majority of dual occs are large with 4 bedrooms; are they catering for the overseas family Visa market? Priced until recently at $2M each in Sydney’s Middle Ring. How can such developments fall under the category of small more affordable homes?
CAAN Photo: An example of a cottage in a Ryde LGA Estate. Quality homes like this are now being impacted by oversized dual occs losing privacy, views, and being diminished by the impact! Lots range between 500M2 and 600M2 unlike older estates of 700/800M2 lots. Residents question the suitability of the smaller lots for dual occ developments!
CAAN Photo: oversized dual occ overshadows, and built much higher than its substantial 2-storey neighbours; very little yard remains where there was a bungalow, a garden with trees and a pool!
CAAN Photo: A duplex that looks like a block of flats! It is set forward of its 2-storey neighbours on either side. It towers above them! At the rear the neighbour has had to plant bamboo to regain some privacy as the development is built close to the back fence!
It was finished in January 2019 following some 12 months in development. At 4 July 2019 neither unit has sold! Needless to say …!
Imagine this dual occ next to the cottage in the photo above!
CAAN Photo: Large Dual Occ built on a corner block forward of the setback of its neighbour; robbing them of their amenity! Question the quality of this build? Looks like a hardware shop shed! Would this fall under the category of a Planning Department well-designed dual occ?
RYDE has been overdeveloped with high-rise precincts in Meadowbank, Ryde, North Ryde, Gladesville, Macquarie Park and in between! Schools, hospitals, trains and buses are all full-up. The roads are clogged including Macquarie Park which has been rezoned for residential from a business and IT Park!
CAAN Photo: A townhouse redevelopment of 6 – 8 dwellings where there was 1 cottage and a garden with trees. Concrete construction emitting Co2; the neighbours have lost their amenity following more than 12 months of demolition, asbestos removal, excavation for garaging; construction etc!
CAAN Photo: The neighbourhood had to endure the excavation for new pipe installation over several months where there was a footpath and a verge; the mess; tradie trucks parking out this street and the neighbouring streets for 12 months or more! What of the rights of the estate homeowners?
The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (Code) allows well designed dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces (up to two storeys) to be carried out under a fast track complying development approval. A complying development approval can be issued within 20 days if the proposal complies with all the relevant requirements in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP).
Low rise housing helps housing affordability by providing smaller homes on smaller lots that still provide all the amenities of a single dwelling and can accommodate a wide variety of lifestyles and needs, including growing families or empty nesters
Low rise housing as complying development is only allowed in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where it is already permitted under a council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP).
A development proposal must meet all of the development standards in the Code and the Design Criteria in the supporting Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide for complying development.
After close to three years of consultation, the Code commenced on 6 July 2018 in many council areas across the State.
Following the release of the Code in July 2018, a temporary deferral was granted to 49 councils until 1 July 2019.
For the City of Ryde, a deferral was granted until 1 July 2020 based on advice from the Greater Sydney Commission.
The Code is already working well in 78 council areas across the State, and some councils granted a temporary deferral have used that time successfully to amend their local planning controls to prepare for the Code. A further four councils are now ready for the Code to commence on 1 July 2019.
The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces has requested an independent review to assess progress on the Code to date, identify impediments to the Code’s delivery in deferred areas, and make recommendations on the appropriate pathway forward to finalise the Code’s implementation.
Professor Roberta Ryan commenced the independent review in mid-June and is expected to provide her report by the end of July. Professor Ryan will assess published council positions on the Code and consult with peak stakeholder groups including Local Government NSW. To allow the review to take place, there will be a further extension of the deferral of the Code in 45 councils until 31 October 2019.
Pending the recommendations of the review, the deferral means that in the deferred council areas landowners will not be able to use the Code to lodge a complying development application for dual occupancies, manor houses or terraces until 1 November 2019 (or 1 July 2020 in the City of Ryde).
It also means that during the deferral period, a council’s local planning controls will continue to apply and landowners may lodge a development application for a dual occupancy or multi dwelling housing if these forms of housing are allowed under the relevant council LEP.
increasing the supply of housing across NSW, especially in Sydney, which will help improve housing affordability,
better meet the needs of our changing population by providing a broader range of housing options to suit different lifestyle needs,
help to maintain the local character of neighbourhoods with a two storey height limit. This will ensure the size and scale of development will fit into established streetscapes and new release areas, and
ensure a consistent approach to the good design of medium density housing across NSW.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Department has prepared three lists of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available to view or download as PDFs:
Laura and Latham Keen were faced with the same choice as many young couples in Sydney — move out or move up.
The NSW Government is encouraging medium-density development by making it easier to subdivide blocks *
The Planning Minister sees more terrace-style housing as a way to address Sydney’s housing squeeze
Some residents oppose the move, fearing the effects of “overdevelopment”
CAAN: * Is NSW Planning appealing to greed? Cough … cough … What is not being revealed … that the NSW Government has rezoned our suburbs for higher density of the Medium-Density Housing Code along with exempt and complying development!
The Morrison Govt policies allow developers to sell 100% of housing projects overseas (FIRB Ruling May 2017 Budget Reg; developments less than 50 dwellings). Maintaining opportunity for money laundering with the Real Estate Gatekeepers exempt from anti-money laundering rules; October 2018.
ABC: They could not afford a freestanding home close to their jobs in the CBD, and did not want to live in a high-rise with their 15-month-old son.
The answer for their growing family was a three-bedroom townhouse in Lane Cove, on Sydney’s lower north shore, 12 kilometres from the CBD.
“We spent six, seven months looking and we looked at just four townhouses in that time,” Mr Keen said.
“There just wasn’t many available.
“This ticked all the boxes and we jumped on it when we found it.”
Medium-density homes like the Keens’ have been dubbed Sydney’s “missing middle” by NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, who believes more terrace-style housing is the solution to the city’s real estate squeeze.
“Apartment-style living is a great choice for some but it’s not necessarily for everyone,” Mr Stokes said.
“Detached homes in the ever-expanding suburbs are out of reach for many families.
“The beauty of terrace-style housing is that it’s low-rise, it’s human scale, it doesn’t overshadow everyone else.”
CAAN Photo: In reality Townhouse and terrace housing projects can impact the local community with demolition, asbestos removal, clearing of vegetation, construction over 12 months or more; these dwelling have a big impact on their neighbours! Note extensive use of concrete paving.
CAAN: * The population swell is drawn from both permanent migration and temp. migration through Visa Manipulation with the lure of buying our real estate to gain Permanent Residency; it is not about natural population growth!
ABC: In a bid to begin catering for those extra residents, the Berejiklian Government last year introduced laws that make it easier to carve up existing blocks and build terraces, duplexes or manor houses.
CAAN: ‘Manor Houses’ are blocks of flats of 3 or 4 units; to be built nextdoor to you?
The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code means that style of dwelling can be built without lodging a development application (DA).
CAAN: That is what ‘Exempt and Complying Development’ means! Search CAAN Website to find out more.
ABC: “I want us to have * a choice * and a spread of different housing,” Mr Stokes said.
“If we fail to meet the housing needs of our existing and future populations we will live in a city that is increasingly divided between the haves and the have-nots.”
CAAN: It would appear the NSW Planning Law changes remove the * choice for detached housing for the incumbents and future generations of Australians in order to facilitate the migration population growth to benefit the developer lobby!
ABC: The new rules mean a compliant development could be approved in about three weeks, compared to more than 70 days under a traditional DA process.
Developers would also not be required to notify neighbours.
But there is fierce opposition to the code.
CAAN: Developments like these we would suggest explain why there is fierce opposition to the code …
CAAN Photo: fugly townhouse development in what was a well planned bushland estate.
CAAN Photo: Cannot be any fuglier; dwarfs substantial 2-storey neighbours; forward of the setback; built close to the rear fence; robbed neighbours of privacy, amenity; they had to plant bamboo. This also discouraged buyers!
ABC: About 50 councils across NSW applied for an exemption when it was first introduced, but those exemptions will be lifted on July 1.
Chris Johnson from Urban Taskforce, a not-for-profit group that represents prominent property developers and equity financiers in Australia, does not believe the code will provide enough new homes to house Sydney’s future residents.
“We need people living in more urban locations,” he said.
“Around railway stations, using public transport, walking to work, walking to shops — it’s a change of culture, a change of living.”
CAAN: An obvious push to maintain the growth of high-rise residential; profit margins
Mr Recsei fears medium-density housing will destroy character in leafy areas.
“It’s going to completely change the whole character of the suburb,” he said.
“It’s going to have detrimental effects in terms of traffic density, parking and the characteristics of the houses themselves.
“It shouldn’t be a dictatorship … the community should decide.”
While terrace housing is an iconic feature of many suburbs in Sydney’s east and inner west, many of those homes date back to the 1800s.
Laura and Latham Keen are hoping the harbour city rediscovers its love of medium-density living.
“I grew up in this area and I would like to stay in this area,” Ms Keen said of Sydney’s lower north shore.
“It’s got the schools that I know, the places I know and the people I know.
“But with the price of housing now, I can’t afford a * freestanding home.”
CAAN: *As explained in numerous reports shared on CAAN the loss of housing affordability for a whole Cohort of Australians came about by changes to government policies allowing the competition for our domestic housing from foreign buyers
DOES Mr Walker know more than he’s letting on about Masterplanned communities with house and land packages in the under-supplied greenfield areas?
Lang: ‘Now those old-time big blocks have been cut into three … ‘
… What happened in 2018 … Planning Minister Roberts introduced not only the Medium-Density Housing Code, but the GREENFIELD Housing Code with allotments as tiny as 200M2 x 6M wide and a max gross floor area 78% of the lot size!
He’s the one person who predicted the last big three price plunges of the Australian real estate market so when billionaire developer Lang Walker talks property, everyone listens.
And what’s his hot tip for the future? It’s not so much stand-alone houses or apartments; it’s masterplanned communities with their house-and-land packages that he believes are shaping up for a boom.
“The apartment market is over-supplied but I believe greenfield areas are under-supplied,” says the Walker Corporation executive chairman who’s built some of the country’s most successful apartment developments in the past, including Sydney’s Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf, Walsh Bay and King Street Wharf, and Hope Island in Queensland.
“Green field areas are undersupplied by a heck of a lot. House-and-land packages around commercial centres, where you might also put townhouses, slightly higher density than just houses, is where the shortages are. We’re not rolling homes out there fast enough.
“There’s a critical undersupply in Sydney and in Melbourne, which is more spread out – they have been rolling out the numbers but they’re now coming back a little so we will still need more. There will be a shortage coming up there, too.”
*Mr Walker, 73, now has around 30,000 land-and-house blocks under development around Australia, including the 27-hectare site east of Melbourne’s CBD, Main Drive Kew, with 281 new homes; the 33-hectare, 336-land blocks Appin Valley in Sydney, 15 minutes from Campbelltown; and Bluestone at Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.
He isn’t afraid to go up against others’ forecasts that the future is in apartments, with units only over-supplied in certain areas of our cities, leaving serious shortages elsewhere.
*But Mr Walker, who’s just risen to number 14 on the Australian Financial Review’s annual rich list with an estimated fortune of $4.67 billion – up 34.6 per cent from last year – is adamant that buyers are looking further afield.
*“There is now huge demand from young families in south-west and north-west Sydney, for example, who aren’t looking for the big blocks and big backyards of the old days, but are looking at blocks of 400 to 500 square metres, some down to 300 square metres,” he says, sitting looking over the ocean from his own award-winning luxury island resort, Kokomo Private Island, that he built in Fiji and where he loves to take time out.
*“Now those old-time big blocks have been cut into three, and designed so there’s no wasted space with, perhaps, even a granny flat over the garage. There are a lot of clever, much more creative designs now as land is so expensive, and transport is really improving for greenfield sites.”
CAAN: Scott Morrison is currently on holiday in Fiji; the PM prior to entering politics wrote the policy for the Developer Lobby, The Property Council of Australia.
Will Lang get a private audience?
‘… a spokesman for Mr Morrison, who is taking a well-earned break after his historic election victory, indicated the PM has no plans to do so.
He is expected to fly back to Australia on the weekend after his family holiday on a Fijian island’.
In Sydney, the new rail lines, light rail, bus corridors, the new airport and proposed airport orbital are all making those sites much more accessible now, he believes, with huge population growth projected in those growth corridors.
Along with that is the provision of much more amenity, like good landscaping, bike paths, running tracks, sports clubs, centres and teams – like the just-announced new A-League football club Macarthur FC to play in the 2020-21 season.
It’s hard to argue since Mr Walker seems to have an unbeatable instinct for what’s about to come next, too. Just before the dot.com crisis slugged the world in 2001, he sold his company Walker Corp to rivals Australand, making a mint on the sale and later buying it back.
Then, in 2006, he sold it again to another rival just before the GFC hit in 2008, and later took it back yet again.
And finally in 2017, he converted all his apartment projects to commercial office towers, just before the latest slump in residential apartment prices, and before the boom in commercial.
He’s now just finished the $3 billion, five-tower complex Collins Square in Docklands, Melbourne – Australia’s largest commercial mixed-use development – and has another $3 billion project underway in Parramatta Square in Sydney, with four towers.
“I think there was a fair bit of luck there, as well as gut instinct and common sense,” says the man who also refused to calculate changes in negative gearing into his projections because he was adamant, in yet another prophetic prediction, that Labor mightn’t win the last election.
“You can see the signs. People start doing silly things and you get a feel for when things are becoming a bit wobbly.
“You could see things getting crazy leading to the 2008 GFC and more recently people were paying too much for sites. Two years ago, I decided to get out of the apartment market because I could see it was beginning to get oversupplied in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and I converted towers in Parramatta and Brisbane to commercial. I will go back into apartments one day, but not yet.”
There have been plenty of analysts who’ve questioned Mr Walker’s decisions in the past. When he came up with the idea of developing Rhodes Waterside in Sydney, and the Broadway Shopping Centre, for instance, “They said I’d lost my marbles,” he smiles. “But they worked out well too.”
His fearsome reputation as a tough negotiator isn’t really deserved either, he insists. Some recommend that, after shaking his hand, you should count your fingers. “And somebody once described me as having anti-freeze in my veins,” he chuckles. “But I’m a bit of a softie, really. That’s just an image that’s portrayed of me. It’s not real.”
What is real is the pride he has in all his projects, and the passion he’s now investing in masterplanned projects of house-and-land packages.
“We’ve always believed in creating communities,” he says. “And now we’re now place-making in these new residential areas, where there are also commercial and industrial centres, and looking at how you link people and work together. That’s what people are looking for today.”