Housing Ideas Forum

Housing is a hot topic across Australia right now and with low availability of rental stock, rising rents and house prices it’s little wonder.

Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast (RDAMNC) in partnership with Housing Matters Action Group (HMAG) hosted the Housing Ideas Forum at Nambucca Shire Council on Tuesday 25 May.

A small audience that represented local community services, industry and government attended the event.

The forum was structured to incorporate presentations and an open forum which posed the questions:

  • What do we need to do?
  • What are the blockages? And
  • What ideas do we have?

Presentations were delivered by Kerry Grace, CEO of RDAMNC on the organisation’s intentions for work in the Housing affordability and availability space, Dr. Michael Darcy, a prominent researcher on social housing policy and management and Kerry Pearse, Chair of the Housing Matters Action Group (HMAG) on the breadth of the housing issues and opportunities in the Mid North Coast.

Regional housing markets are under stress, caused by an increase in internal migration and low interest rates.

According to data released by CoreLogic, demand for property in some regional areas is twice as high as in Australia’s major cities.

Median sales prices and rents have risen rapidly across the entire MNC and as they do more locals are becoming displaced as many can’t afford to purchase or rent with the increase in price.

“We must mobilise as communities to find local solutions to the housing crisis. We can’t only wait for government and the market to respond.” Said Kerry Pearse

Past government initiatives such as first homeowner grants and increase supply via speeding up land release and Development Approvals can have negative effects and highlight the real need for place-based solutions.

“What appeared to be intuitive or obvious ways forward often have contradictory or surprising unplanned outcomes” said Dr. Michael Darcy

“The history of using supply to offset increases in demand doesn’t always work like we think it will work. When you increase supply maybe all you do is turn on the tap of people coming from Sydney and Brisbane.”

The fastest growing employer in the MNC is community services and health. It is also one of the lowest paid and with workers currently needing to set aside 30-40 % of their pay packets for rent or mortgage repayments, rising prices mean that there are even less options to enter the local housing market.

Those present at the forum were given the opportunity to put forward solutions of how to improve the current situation. Suggestions included innovation in the building sector, changes to land zoning, improved co – operation and collaboration from local councils, education, different funding models for home loans and the utilising of existing assets.

“As a community we need to address the housing issues that we are currently experiencing within the Mid North Coast Region and the solutions need to come from all sectors and stakeholders collaborating to form a considered plan,” said Kerry Grace

“We need to ask ourselves what we want our population to look like towards 2040 and beyond and start planning for it now”.

Download HMAG’s Presentation – HERE












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