NSW home building plans begin to take shape

A new report from the NSW productivity commissioner has reinforced the government’s high-density building plans by showing that the infrastructure cost is significantly less when going up rather than out.

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Largely due to the fact that high-density building occurs in inner-city rings where the needed infrastructure to accommodate new residents is largely already in place, the report has found significant savings are achieved with high- and medium-density builds.

This can be as a $75,000 saving in infrastructure costs per new home.

The NSW government is using this data to double down on its plan to build around pre-existing transport links, particularly within Sydney’s competitive market, and stressed the fact that building “up” would be a major part of its plan to hit new housing targets.

“The NSW productivity commissioner evidence shows that the housing crisis inherited from the previous government is linked to their focus on building out rather than up, instead of focusing additional housing around existing infrastructure and networks,” said Paul Scully, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

In the face of nervous Sydney residents ready to cry “NIMBY,” he emphasised that the government is committed to its vision of “density done well”.

“It’s vital we look at different ways to deliver more homes, including focusing on inner-city suburbs with existing infrastructure that can be scaled relatively quickly and easily,” Mr Scully said.

He noted that delivering a great range of housing would be a focus as the face of some of Sydney’s neighbourhoods changed.

“More infill development means people can stay in their communities and neighbourhoods through different stages of their life. Everyone wants family and friends to be able to afford to live nearby.

“We need help to deliver housing that people can afford with a fairer distribution of housing in infill locations where people want to live and work, near jobs and services, and where it costs considerably less to deliver the infrastructure needed to support those homes.

“Essential workers like health workers, teachers, police, firefighters, cleaners, security guards, truck, bus and train drivers deserve the opportunity to live closer to where they work,” he said.

And in the face of ambitious and potentially difficult targets for building, Mr Scully described this as a way of being able to “spread every dollar further”.

“The productivity commissioner notes that established suburbs already have good access to roads, schools, health services and open spaces, and to existing water and wastewater services, so it makes much more sense to increase density in those places,” he said.

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