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REIQ Journal : March 2010
Property and finance experts look to affordable housing solutions A panel of national property and nance minds have called for smaller house and land sizes and an increase in funding for community and not-for-pro t housing programs to help combat the spiralling issue of a ordability, at a major summit on the Gold Coast in February. The event, held by Gold Coast Housing Company (GCHC) and Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) at Bond University, featured the latest research and strategies for a ordable housing from highly respected industry experts, including former ANZ chief economist Saul Eslake and Urban Land Development Authority CEO Paul Eagles. Mr Eslake said Australia's persistent housing shortage had been a major catalyst for escalating property prices. "Australia urgently needs to address the gap between supply and demand -- particularly at the lower end of the market," Mr Eslake said. "In addition to more exible zoning and planning schemes, and lower up front charges for developers, funds currently spent on cash assistance to home purchasers should be redirected to community and not-for-pro t programs which can directly increase the supply of a ordable accommodation. "Australia's housing shortfall as of June 2008 was estimated to be as high as 140,000, and this gure is expected to virtually double over the next eight years. "There is a particularly pronounced shortage of a ordable housing -- stock levels for public rental, community and not-for-pro t and crisis accommodation have remained fairly stagnant over the past decade, with an estimated shortfall of 90,000 units in 2008. "Continuously rising rent will exacerbate distress among lower income groups, while upward trends in house prices will increase inequalities in wealth distribution. "This may occur to the extent that increases in house prices are uneven across di erent regions, with people becoming 'locked-into'or ' locked-out of' particular cities and regions." Mr Eagles said the trend towards building large dwellings had put pressure on property prices. "Most new homes in Queensland are now built on sites that are typically more than 600sqm with a package price tag of more than $400,000, and market rent for the State now sits at approximately $400 per week. "These purchase and rental costs could potentially be signi cantly reduced by not only decreasing the size of dwellings, but also facilitating the development of more not-for-pro t and Department of Communities (DOC) projects. "The delivery of a ordable housing is a collaboration -- developers, builders, council, community organisations and purchasers all need to work together towards a more streamlined and accessible system." RTA on the move The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) will be leaving its Herschel Street premises in early March after 10 years to move to its new o ces located at level 23, 179 Turbot Street, Brisbane. RTA general manager Fergus Smith said as Queensland's population has grown, so too has demand for RTA services. "As sta numbers increased to meet the increase in demand for RTA services, we realised the Herschel Street building would no longer be able to accommodate us," Mr Smith said. "In order to continue providing the high level of client service the RTA is renowned for, we decided to look for a new location that could not only house current RTA activities, but also meet future demand. "We have now leased four levels of the Turbot Street premises, which provides us with enough space to accommodate the projected growth of the RTA for the next decade." Nothing will change for RTA clients, who can continue to contact the RTA on the existing 1300 366 311 phone number. The RTA's postal address of GPO Box 390, Brisbane QLD 4001 is also unchanged. The RTA will continue to provide a counter service for clients on level 23 of the new building. The new location is between the Mincom and Suncorp buildings in the Brisbane CBD, which is a two- minute walk from Brisbane Central railway station and a ve-minute walk from the Queen Street Mall. REIQ Journal March 2010 Industry News 8