Blueprint To Unlock Housing as Qld Growth Spurt Looms

Something has to give.

That much has been clear for quite some time in south-east Queensland.

But a new planning blueprint—and the region’s need to accommodate an additional 2.2 million residents during the next two decades—brings it into sharp focus.

The 270-page draft SEQ Regional Plan 2023 Update is the Queensland government’s response to a worsening housing crisis.

Its solution?

Unlocking land and housing supply across the region’s 12 local government areas to provide the framework for the delivery of an additional 863,600 new homes by 2046.

In that period it is expected the state’s south-east corner will have become home to a total of six million people, surpassing the current population of Greater Sydney.

“This growth will require an average of 34,500 new homes each year, as well as increased transport accessibility, job opportunities and essential services,” the draft plan says.

“The next 25 years of growth for SEQ will be different to the past 25 years of growth, presenting challenges and opportunities of a complexity beyond those faced by the region to date.

“Increasing fiscal uncertainty, housing affordability pressures and unparalleled changing housing needs and preferences demands a paradigm shift.”

Under the draft plan, the region’s local council’s will be required to amend their own planning schemes to meet new “dwelling targets” based on density and diversity.

It will involve continued modest expansion of the region’s urban footprint but an even greater emphasis on consolidation through infill development, prioritising the unlocking of underutilised land and high amenity sites.

With limited unconstrained land remaining in south-east Queensland, a key strategy of the updated plan is to push for the aspirational move from a dwelling growth ratio of 60/40 consolidation/ expansion to 70/30 consolidation/ expansion.

“Given the housing shortage, the draft [plan] recognises that all centres have potential for further residential growth, either within or on the edges,” it says.

▲ Logan, to the south of Brisbane, is predicted to need 108,400 more homes.

“New strategies promote residential growth, including high density, medium density or “gentle density” in the right locations, or incremental residential development where appropriate.”

The lion’s share—just shy of a quarter—of the plan’s projected total housing target is to be provided in Brisbane, accounting for 209,700 homes.

It is followed by the Gold Coast (158,100), Moreton Bay (123,000), Logan (108,400), Ipswich (107,900), Sunshine Coast (80,600), Toowoomba (29,400), Redland (20,000), Lockyer Valley (8500), Scenic (8000), Somerset (5100) and Noosa (4900).

Several new potential future growth areas have been identified in the draft plan, including Westbrook (Toowoomba), North Harbour (Moreton Bay) and Stapylton (Industrial – Gold Coast).

A number of major development areas also are listed. They include Elimbah (Moreton Bay), Beerwah East (Sunshine Coast), Stapylton (Gold Coast) and Wellcamp (Toowomba).

Significantly, the plan sets a new target with 20 per cent of the region’s new homes to be social and affordable housing.

Of the region’s overall housing target, at least 100,000 homes would be built close to jobs, transport and across well-serviced areas.

As well, the plan seeks to unlock new models and diverse forms of homes for housing delivery—such as build-to-rent, co-housing and micro-housing.

“More housing is needed than ever before, and we need a plan that ensures homes are delivered when and where they need to be while also protecting Queensland’s great lifestyle,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said in releasing the draft plan.

“A lot has changed since the last plan was released, including record interstate migration.

▲ Ripley, near Ipswich: The blueprint sets a new target of 20 per cent social and affordable housing within the region’s new homes mix.

“Our population isn’t just getting bigger, it’s changing, with household sizes, demographics and lifestyle trends shifting.

“We cannot only rely on traditional models and new greenfield development as the answer for housing choice and affordability.”

Property Council Queensland executive director Jen Williams said the release of the draft plan was an important step in aligning key stakeholders and planning for the significant growth the region will continue to experience over the coming years.

“The draft plan does not shy away from the scale of the challenge the region faces,” she said. “Ultimately, when it comes to housing, south-east Queensland is going to need more of everything, everywhere.”

Williams said changing household composition and lifestyle needs as well as declining housing affordability highlighted the need for the region to provide a greater diversity of housing to meet the community’s needs.

“For the first time, the draft plan includes dwelling targets based on housing density and diversity,

“Getting the balance of housing diversity right in the overarching plan will be the ultimate challenge for the region, particularly given while policy seeks to drive an uplift in density, the reality of the current construction market means many of these desirable products are not currently feasible to deliver.”

The draft plan is accompanied by a 105-page the draft SEQ Infrastructure Supplement 2023 detailing the infrastructure that will be needed to service the region’s expected population boom.

“Certainty around the funding and delivery of this infrastructure will be vital, both for those involved in delivering new housing, as well as existing and growing communities who will rely on it to maintain and improve their quality of life,” Williams said.

Brisbane-based town planner Natalie Rayment, of Wolter Consulting Group, said the key to the plan’s success would be in its implementation and the support of all levels of government was crucial.

“The proof of the pudding will be how well it’s implemented and how much either carrot or stick they have built into that implementation because I think from the industry’s perspective the previous SEQ Plan wasn’t implemented well.

“For instance, the last one in 2017 talked about needing more ‘missing middle’ housing but then the Brisbane City Council esssentially banned townhouses.

“So, I think the success of it is going to be how it translates into all of the [council] planning schemes to make sure that they are also unlocking opportunities for more supply of all different types of housing in all the right places.”

Australian Constructors Association head of policy Robert Sobyra said in order to accommodate south-east Queensland’s exponential growth and need for more housing “we are obviously going to be leaning a lot more on the construction industry”.

“Not just to deliver those houses but all the associated infrastructure, the roads, the schools … and not to mention we’re trying to deliver an Olympics in the middle of all this,” he said.

“There’s no doubt the economic centre of gravity is drifting north to Queensland. It’s an amazing opportunity.

“And I think in the 2030s Queensland is going to be the most dynamic place in the country.

“At the moment, however, it’s like we’re sailing along with this hurricane on the horizon, half the people blissfully unaware with their backs turned to it and the rest of us staring out in that direction going ‘Holy (expletive)’.”

Increasing productivity in the industry—“getting smarter about how we build stuff and doing it more efficiently with fewer people”—was critical given the acute shortage of skilled labour and Australia’s ageing population.

“And we need to keep working together to co-ordinate the journey and be cognisant of the supply-side issues and the fact that everyone is starving for resources.”

Otherwise, he said, it will be a case of “cannibalising the rest of the economy to feed the construction industry”. And the big question for the development sector will who gets “crowded out” and hurt as collatoral damage.

“It’s usually somewhere in the private sector. Hopefully, it’s not residential because God knows how badly we need that.”

Article source: Queensland Property Investor