City of Sydney steps up again with more affordable housing
Cameron Jewell | 6 February 2018
The City of Sydney has again subsidised a land sale so more affordable housing can be built.
The surplus land at Green Square has been sold at a discount to St George Community Housing, which is expected to build just over 80 social and affordable housing units, as well as provide ground floor retail.
The sale of the southern section of 338 Botany Road follows an earlier deal with City West Housing to build 200 social and affordable units on the northern section of the site.
Together, the two land deals represent a $5 million discount on market value.
The council also previously sold land in Redfern at a discount to SGCH to build 130-150 social and affordable housing units.
All up, the council has now provided close to $20 million in subsidised land sales for affordable housing.
“Cost of housing across metropolitan Sydney is at crisis point and we are committed to tackling it using every mechanism available to us,” Lord mayor Clover Moore said.
“We are paving the way for more affordable rental housing because we need police, teachers, cleaners and other essential workers in the city to be able to afford to live close to where they work.”
The deal follows a report published this week that found that Sydney had lost 20 per cent of its key workers due to the housing affordability crisis.
“Social and affordable housing is primarily the responsibility of state governments, but we are using all the options available to us under existing planning laws to create more affordable homes,” Ms Moore said.
Calls for state government to step up
She repeated calls for the NSW government to extend its affordable housing scheme citywide, so the council could oblige developers to provide affordable housing contributions on residential development in all areas, rather than just in the designated Ultimo/Pyrmont, Green Square and Southern Employment Lands zones.
“We could do so much more if the NSW government would only let us extend our affordable housing scheme citywide,” Ms Moore said.
Calls have also been made for the state government to subsidise its own land sales and provide up to 30 per cent social and affordable housing on its urban renewal sites.
- See Tim Williams’ latest piece How governments can ensure more affordable housing
The state Labor opposition has committed to 25 per cent of all dwellings built on government land being affordable.
Housing to be operationally affordable
SGCH is also taking advantage of Clean Energy Finance Corporation financing to build the units to a seven star NatHERS standard.
“This will reduce the carbon footprint of the building and, for tenants, significantly reduce their energy bills,” SGCH group chief executive Scott Langford said.
“In partnership with the City and CEFC we will be delivering excellent social, economic and environmental outcomes for the community.”