Building our cities higher could help solve the housing crisis

Paul Eyers
By Paul Eyers
3 Min Read

Building up in Sydney’s CBD could provide an answer to the housing crisis, according to New South Wales government research.

The city’s housing crisis has reached new heights, with 550,000 new homes required in the next eight years, and the government is desperate to find supply solutions.

The new research is part of a NSW Productivity Commission paper series, released to provide evidence-based analysis on how to make Sydney’s housing more affordable.

The ‘Building More Homes Where Infrastructure Costs Less’ paper discovered Sydney’s central areas could leverage its infrastructure and save up to $75,000 in related costs per new home.

NSW Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat AM explained this would require building up in select areas to make the most of Sydney’s existing infrastructure.

“It’s more important than ever to ensure new housing is built in the right areas and that we make the most of existing infrastructure,” he said.

“Building up in existing areas is cheaper because much of the necessary infrastructure, such as roads, public transport, schools, utilities, and open space, is already in place. More homes close to jobs also means shorter travel times.”

The Commission’s recommendations include raising apartment heights in suburbs near the CBD, approving residential development near transport hubs, encouraging medium-density developments and approving granny flats.

It follows the ‘Building More Homes Where People Want To Live’ paper, which analysed the benefits of building more housing in high-demand areas rather than Sydney’s outer suburbs.

“Our previous paper showed the Eastern Suburbs, North Shore, inner city, and Inner West have the greatest demand when it comes to where people want to live.”

“This paper suggests these areas also have the most existing capacity and are the most cost-effective areas to build in,” Mr Achterstraat said.

“Put simply, more housing in the right places, where people want to live, will improve affordability, reduce infrastructure costs, and limit the burden on taxpayers.”

The paper found that the economic costs of population growth in Sydney range from $40,000 to $114,000 per home, with the lowest cost areas near the CBD.

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Paul Eyers has worked as a journalist for a range of media publishers including News Corp and Network Ten. He has also worked outside of Australia, including time spent with ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Stepping away from the media, Paul spent five years sharpening his tools in construction - building his skill set and expertise within the trade industry. His diverse experiences and unique journey have equipped him with an insider view of Australia’s construction game to dig deep into the big stories.