Urgent need for more housing in Queensland – report

The housing crisis in Southeast Queensland has escalated

Urgent need for more housing in Queensland – report

New data from RPM reveals that the housing crisis in Southeast Queensland has escalated, leaving a significant shortage of 25,000 rental properties due to a decline in approved homes.

The report emphasised the urgent need for the release of more greenfield land for housing and the call for greater densification through townhomes and duplexes, commonly referred to as the "missing middle," as advocated by town planner Martin Garred.

Peter Neale, the managing director of RPM Queensland, told The Australian that the region is facing a unique set of challenges.

“This shortage has been compounded by record interstate migration to Queensland last year that drove the largest population growth of any Australian state in 2022, and it will become even more critical with the expected spike in international migrants over the short term,” he said. “Market forces at the moment are colliding simultaneously to exacerbate the critical housing shortage in southeast Queensland, which is further fueled by a continuation of poor economic factors.”

Neale highlighted the growing pressure faced by tenants and new homebuyers in the rental market, where the shortfall continues to increase. Despite record levels of housing construction in the past year, the approval of new homes in Queensland declined by 15.4% in the 12 months leading up to April, The Australian reported.

“The solution is to increase supply given last year has demonstrated that there is no shortage of people seeking to purchase – they are largely constrained by affordability,” Neale told the publication. “Buyers will become more confident once rate increases subside. In the meantime, there needs to be a concerted effort by governments and councils in southeast Queensland to cut red tape and get approvals through faster. This is a critical enabler.”

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While the recent federal budget includes various initiatives to enhance housing supply, Garred, a town planner and fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, expressed reservations about the feasibility of these promises. Garred welcomed the investments made but emphasised the importance of careful implementation. He remarks:

"It also promises to improve land-use zoning as part of its immediate actions. I believe this has merit, but only if done right,” Garred told The Australian. “The government should allow a variety of duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, fonzi flats, and so forth, to be developed indiscriminately, citywide. This is already practised in major cities worldwide."

Garred said he appreciated the national cabinet's agreement on a new housing approach, which includes a review of infrastructure investment, increased housing supply, and a vision for sustainable city growth. He saw the move as a positive step forward, describing it as a "breath of fresh air":

“For decades, the ideological concept of the 'Great Australian Dream' of a detached house and backyard has exacerbated the housing crisis. It drove policy that permitted exclusive construction of stand-alone houses on residential land,” Garred told The Australian. “I urge all levels of government involved with the new approach to housing not to waste a golden opportunity for change.”

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