Are dense apartments the housing type of Australia's future?

The Intergenerational Report’s prediction that Australia’s population will rocket to 39.7 million by 2055 has unleashed a flood of calls for housing reform from developer lobby groups including Master Builders Australia, the Urban Taskforce and the Urban Development Institute of Australia.

Chief executive of Master Builders Australia Wilhelm Harnisch said the news meant Australia would need nine million more homes.

“The nation will need to more than double its current housing stock over the next 40 years to accommodate the expected 1.3 per cent in annual population growth,” he said.

“The key challenge will be to tackle intergenerational housing affordability in order to preserve home ownership as a fundamental pillar of Australian economic and family life over the next 40 years.”

He said more brownfield development would be essential to meet increased demand for multi-density housing, “particularly as baby-boomers seek to increasingly ‘right size’ in response to their changing lifestyles.”

Apartments the way off the future

The Urban Taskforce’s Chris Johnson said the population boom, and changing demographics in the form of an ageing population, meant cities would need to transform.

“The suburban family home will be less relevant to still active retirees and the growing need for younger people to be close to jobs,” he said. “A new cosmopolitan urban approach to cities with apartments dominating is the likely form of the city.”

Mr Johnson said housing affordability needed to be tackled with increased supply.

“But this housing needs to be close to work opportunities so that productivity is not lost through excessive travel times. The obvious answer is more density around rail stations with work also located near major rail stations.

“Future infrastructure provision must support more affordable housing with greater density close to transport nodes. With an ageing population living longer there will be a new 20-year post work, active living period for many Australians and they are better placed near amenities in apartments where socialising is easier.”

More red tape reduction

The UDIA’s national president Cameron Shephard used the report to call for the removal of taxes and red tape for the housing sector.

“It is currently the case that the supply of new housing is constrained by high and inefficient taxes and charges, insufficient investment in infrastructure, and unnecessary regulation and red tape,” he said.

For greater productivity, Mr Shephard said investment in public transport, roads, utilities and community infrastructure was imperative.

“The intergenerational report shows it will be critical for governments to act on these issues now, to ensure a prosperous Australia in the future.”

One reply on “Intergenerational Report spurs developer calls for housing reform”

  1. Wilhelm Harnisch, Chris Johnson and Cameron Shephard have still missed one crucial factor in housing development and an ageing population: incorporating design features that allow people to age in place. They talk of an active phase of older age (yes, there are many active years after 65), but what happens when disability kicks in as it inevitably will. I am still waiting for industry to embrace the Livable Housing Design Guidelines in all new housing – this is the aim of Livable Housing Australia which boasts a board that includes Wilhelm Harnisch and representatives from Stockland, and the Property Council. Their aim is to have all new housing designed to the standard by 2020. No evidence of it yet.

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