Regional Australia Institute (RAI) have released a new discussion paper “Building the Good Life – Meeting the demand for regional housing” as part of their wider focus on regionalisation.
It highlights the current pressures faced in both rental and purchase housing markets in regional Australia and finds that, while partly driven by cyclical and macroeconomic factors, the shortage in regional housing has been accumulating over several years.
Regional WA centres have seen a rise in median rents and tight vacancy rates with Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Kununurra, Northam and Port Hedland just some of the centres with vacancy rates below 1 per cent as of January 2022 (SQM Research).
Structural barriers to home building in regional Australia is outlined as the key reason for building not keeping pace with population growth and RAI offer a suite of proposed solutions to increase the supply of more affordable and appropriate housing.
- A Regional New Home Loan Guarantee, with Carnarvon, Katanning, East Pilbara, Merredin and Collie offered as examples of LGAs that might be eligible in WA.
- Local governments and community housing providers should consider accessing the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC’s) affordable housing bond aggregator and its capacity building program to meet increased need for social and community housing.
- Regional groupings of councils should determine the scale of local undersupply and look to translate this into local investment opportunities through aggregated demand.
- Improved incentives for regional tradespeople.
- Easing restrictions on temporary or relocatable housing to be part of the local housing mix.
- Build more medium-density and social housing, with 89 per cent of housing stock in regional WA detached homes despite changing needs and preferences.
The Regional Australia Institute report can be found here.