Mandating high sustainability in Victoria turns out to be a strong selling point for housing estates

A look at three housing estates that are mandating sustainability covenants. And surprise surprise, the buyers are lapping them up. We look at Mullum Creek Estate in Donvale, Melbourne, The Cape in Gippsland east of Melbourne and Salt Torquay, on Victoria’s western coast where after the first builder showed a higher energy efficiency rating could be done easily and cheaply, is now 80 per cent sold.

Improved targeted rent assistance needed for low-income tenants

Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) is not reaching many of those who need it, with about 18 per cent of low-income private rental households in housing stress, yet not receiving the income supplement, a new AHURI report reveals. The Demand-side assistance in Australia’s rental housing market: exploring reform options report modelled a number of possible cost-effective […]

Snaidero goes green with Australia’s first sustainable porcelain kitchens at Seafarers Residences

As consumers become more sustainably conscious, the typical kitchen design has been turned on its head by revered Italian kitchen brand Snaidero. The company recently unveiled its first Australian project to feature precision-engineered porcelain fronted joinery at Seafarers, the new Yarra River waterfront residences in Melbourne developed by Riverlee. Designed and crafted in Italy, the […]

FLICK THE SWITCH: All-electric sustainable luxury in Brisbane

A former minerals explorer turned developer is proud that each home he and his team builds is more sustainable than the last. With a new luxury home called Vanquish in the Brisbane suburb of Auchenflower, this has culminated in a Passive House certified home that was offered to market for between $3 million and $4 […]

Still house hunting after budget 2020

More than $5 billion was poured into social housing after the GFC and most economists supported the tactic for its propensity to boost jobs and stimulate the economy. This time round funding for social housing was a glaring omission from the federal government’s Covid-recovery 2020 budget.  The sector wasn’t ignored completely: an extra $1 billion […]

Nightingale Housing lands in Adelaide

The Nightingale model for sustainable housing that started in Melbourne has spread its wings to Adelaide. While details are still scant, the announcement from Nightingale Housing identified Adelaide as a “place in which it is easy to imagine a Nightingale community flourishing.” “Adelaide’s commitments to renewable power and carbon neutrality, its diverse affordable housing initiatives […]

The case for social housing on church land

Tone Wheeler of Environa Studio says there are three options to find land for affordable housing: government, churches and philanthropists. The government seems little interested and same with philanthropists, he says. In a new position paper on affordable housing commissioned by Churches Housing, Wheeler makes the case for social housing on church land. Social housing […]

What must be fixed before the NSW’s Planned Housing Diversity SEPP can do what it sets out to do

While the New South Wales government’s revamped housing diversity policy is being touted as the answer to the state’s shortfalls in affordable housing, I believe the unintended consequences may have the opposite effect. The proposed changes (Housing Diversity SEPP) are far more likely to suffocate future supply. This is due to the removal of provisions […]

Landcom’s patterns for cooling the commons in Western Sydney

The heat is on for Western Sydney in more ways than one. Not only is the region expected to regularly hit 50 degrees in summer, it’s already done so. And yet it’s earmarked for major expansion of population. With a new report Cooling Common Spaces in Densifying Urban Environments the NSW government’s land development agency […]

Sustainable House Day will be virtual this year and better for it

What’s a sustainable house? According to Perth based architect Ben Caine from Leanhous, sustainability is a “very loose term that can be interpreted lots of different ways”.  That’s why he can see loads of benefits in Sustainable House Day on 20 September this year being a virtual event with lots of online tours and virtual […]

House hunters are rarely told the home energy rating – little wonder the average is as low as 1.8 stars

Most Australian homes have been built to notoriously poor standards. The energy performance of existing homes in Victoria, for instance, averages 1.8 stars – 6 stars is mandatory for newly built homes under the 10-star Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NaTHERS). Decision-makers typically fail to appreciate the importance of a low star rating, even though […]

Our states are crying poor. They wouldn’t if they charged for rezoning like the ACT

Throughout Australia, when land is rezoned from industrial to high-rise residential, a charge is levied to help fund the required infrastructure. In NSW it is called an infrastructure contribution. The NSW government is reviewing it in order to cut “red tape” and “fix the uncertainty”. They are words that ought to set off alarm bells. […]

Why natural ventilation is so hard to come by

Natural ventilation, or lack of. The modernist triumph of bare-arse glass for fully airconditioned office buildings has become the ubiquitous answer for high rise residential. Brisbane is now plagued by them. Pretty much the same for other Australian capitals with different climates. The first dilemma on observation is: is it office or residential. A slightly […]

Social housing is not a bloody-minded numbers game

The truth is, governments have the power to solve social housing shortages and homelessness. But once social housing becomes a bloody-minded numbers game of delays, deficits, and denials, it invariably degenerates into the dark art of political obfuscation.

Zombie apartments: The new face of inner-city living

A 2017 United Nations report focused on the “financialisation of housing”, with structural changes where housing is treated as a commodity, a means of accumulating wealth and often as security for financial instruments that are traded and sold on global markets.

Want a marriage made in heaven? Try Passive House+

Plans for one of the largest “passive house” social housing estates in Europe have been approved in Ireland. But the designers could still learn a thing or two about the latest thinking in sustainable social housing from Germany. A total of 597 homes will be built on a nine hectare site by scenic Shanganagh Castle, […]

Rainwater tanks for a greener future

Rainwater harvesting solutions involves a minimal upfront cost to achieve sustainability upgrades that will pay significant dividends for homeowners as the climate changes.

The truth behind the housing supply nonsense

It is widely believed that Australian housing supply is constrained by planning regulations. In a new research paper out last month, I show that this belief is wrong. How can I be so confident about my assessment? First, I crawled through the annual reports of Australia’s top eight listed housing developers, who represent about 9 […]

Yes, Mr Cummings, energy efficiency is boring – if you have a one inch deep mind

The evil gnome who has taken up permanent residence on the shoulder of British prime minister Boris Johnson and whispers dark instructions into his ears, last week pronounced energy efficiency as “boring“. His name is demonic comings. I’m sorry, that was a mistaken auto-correction by my dictation software; it should have read Dominic Cummings, who […]

Exciting news for affordable housing in our most expensive cities

There’s good news for affordable accommodation in Sydney and Melbourne. In fact, it’s exciting if you consider the co-living, co-operative and shared equity housing that Landcom in Sydney has in mind, and the twin key apartments in Melbourne, thanks to a lovely collaboration. Landcom boss John Brogden flagged the possibilities for radically different affordable housing […]