As governments increasingly look to mixed-tenure developments to deliver social and affordable housing, one development in Wollongong has already put rubber to the road and delivered a bespoke architectural building that is balancing community needs with privately owned residences.

Developed by Traders in Purple and designed by award-winning architects Jackson Teece, the Wollongong development represents success in integrating social and affordable housing in private residential development. Nearly 80 per cent of private residences have already sold out before completion. 

Traders in Purple director Charles Daoud said the market response reaffirmed the success of the mixed-tenure model.

With its ocean and mountain views, bespoke architecturally designed finishes and mix of private and community housing, Northsea is breaking down the social barriers and reducing the ghettoisation effect of segregating and isolating vulnerable members of the community. 

Upon completion in late 2023, 38 premium two- and three- bedroom apartments overlooking Wollongong City Beach will be privately owned, 10 apartments will be owned by the Land and Housing Corporation and six owned by Housing Trust, which will manage the leases.

“Housing affordability is one of the greatest challenges we face in Australia and the recent wave of people leaving cities for the regions has put additional pressure on locations such as Wollongong,” Mr Daoud said.

“The rental price for houses has risen up to 50 per cent in Wollongong and there is currently zero vacancy. If you are trying to survive on a pension or disability support, or working in a low-paid job, it is extremely difficult to put a roof over your head.

“Northsea meets only a small fraction of thelocal need for more affordable housing and we are intent on exploring every opportunity to do more.” 

Community housing organisations, including housing co-operatives and charitable nonprofits, provide a quarter of all social housing in Australia according to government figures – up from a 12 per cent share a decade earlier.

“There’s a shortfall of more than 200,000 social and affordable homes in NSW right now, and 50,000 households waiting for social housing,” Community Housing Industry Association NSW chief executive Mark Degotardi said. 

“Public and community housing has grown by only 4 per cent over the past 25 years while our population has increased by 30 per cent. Only 1 to 2 per cent of housing built each year is social and affordable housing – far short of the 16 per cent we managed in the 1950s and 1960s,” Community Housing Industry Association chief executive Wendy Hayhurst said. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pledged $10 billion to create a Housing Australia Future Fund, which will build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years. 

Prior to the Northsea development, Traders in Purple’s most recent completion in NSW was a joint venture with Land and Housing Corporation and Housing Trust. The developer completed 34 apartments and townhomes at Corrimal on the NSW South Coast under the NSW Government Communities Plus program. 

Mr Daoud said its collaboration with government and community to develop affordable and social housing encouraged the company to incorporate more social interaction and environmental sustainability into its developments. 

“It’s made us think harder about how to encourage social interaction in a building and how to design and build in ways that are more environmentally sustainable,” said Mr Daoud. 

“In every community there needs to be a diversity of housing types ensuring a strong and integrated social fabric that enhances neighbourhoods. 

“People often forget that without this diverse mix we would have fewer key workers in the area, fewer students working in hospitality, and less interaction and connection with the elderly.”

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