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Cracking the housing affordability code together

2 mins  25.10.2017 Virginia Briggs

The simple measure of a secure place to live is harder to find for many Australians; with shortages of social and affordable housing contributing to volatility in the wider economy.

Recognising the crisis, the property sector is exploring solutions to crack the affordability code.

MinterEllison has recently played a key role in the redevelopment of the Ivanhoe Estate in Sydney's north, Australia's biggest social and affordable housing renewal development. The renewal and revitalisation of the 8.2 hectare space will create a neighbourhood of over 3,000 units, including 1000+ social housing units and 128 affordable rental units.

It was a privilege to be part of such a dynamic mix; seeing the public, private and not-for-profit sectors come together to bring about sustainable development for the local community.

With a stock of just nine million homes and a growing population of 24 million in Australia, housing affordability is likely to continue for the next 40 years. The people who will live in developments, like Ivanhoe, will now have more certainty to their future and that's a great thing for the economy overall.

Shortages of social and affordable housing contribute to volatility in the wider economy, as the simple measure of a secure place to live is closely related to businesses and labour markets.

We are at a point where the public and private sectors need to lead change. Initiatives are being penned to approach the crisis from new angles, like government beginning to explore mandating inclusionary zoning schemes in new developments. Recognising the crisis, we are working closely with government and industry, through bodies such as the Property Council of Australia (PCA), to share, learn and explore solutions to crack the affordability code.

Being privileged to work on the cutting edge of the Australian property market means we have a lot of knowledge capital to pass on. For instance, we actively transfer knowledge and support for initiatives like Homes for Homes, an independent not-for-profit initiative focused on increasing the supply of affordable housing. We are also the sole legal advisor on the PCA's Build to Rent roundtable, a committee focused on removing the commercial and regulatory barriers to establishing a viable Build to Rent (also known as 'multi-family') sector in Australia that will provide additional housing supply and alternative accommodation options.

What is becoming increasingly apparent is that there is no silver bullet to the affordability question. We most certainly need a combination of actions, from both the demand and supply-side to make housing affordable. By being involved in key projects like Ivanhoe, and exchanging knowledge through industry partnerships gives us all the best opportunity to crack the code. 

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