In case you didn't already know, Australia is in the grip of a housing crisis. Among the many and serious concerns is the lack of affordable rental housing for coastal communities like ours, who are becoming increasingly priced out of town, leaving businesses unable to find staff. To can read more about the challenges we are facing in this ABC article and on a blog I wrote here.
The images below show the average house price, rental availability rate and weekly rents in the 2478 postcode over the past two decades:
It is evidence from these graphs that following the COVID pandemic the price of houses skyrocketed and the rental availability rate plummeted, largely as a result of the large "drift" of seachangers from cities to coastal areas.
The housing crisis is complex and multi-faceted, but Council is in a unique position to contribute to a solution through its last remaining residential land holdings in Wollongbar and Lennox Head.
Council owns 30 residential lots in Wollongbar, directly behind the Rifle Range Park and next door to a future childcare site. This land is perfect for affordable housing for working families because of its proximity to services and towns including Lismore and Ballina.
Earlier in the year, Council decided to sell lots 1-18 (at the back) at auction for market rate and explore construction affordable workforce housing on up to 12 lots (lots 19-28). This would allow Council to use the proceeds of the land sale to fund the cost of construction, minimising the amount of money that would have to be borrowed for the project.
Council's last remaining residential landholdings are adjacent to the Lennox Rise estate in Lennox Head. While the land has yet to be subdivided, it is estimated to be able to accommodate around 60 residential lots. With Lennox Head businesses experience significant workforce shortages, this is an idea location to construct affordable workforce housing.
Council recently issued a tender for a developer to design and build affordable housing on 12 of the 30 lots at Wollongbar and recieved nine submissions. From these, Council decided to commence negotiations with the preferred tenderer (Kendall Kollective Pty Ltd) at its November 2023 Commerical Services meeting. Council will recieve a full report on expected income and expenditure that may result from this investment, before making a final decision in February 2024.
I look forward to continuing to champion the construction of affordable housing on our land at Lennox Head while I remain on Council.
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