The Victorian Government’s release of 100,000 new housing lots in Melbourne will do nothing for the city’s housing affordability problems, urban planning and industry experts say.
Under the plan, housing blocks will be rezoned and 17 new suburbs will be created in key growth zones in the outer north, north-west and south-east in a bid to make buying a home more affordable.
However, Melbourne University urban planning expert Professor Carolyn Whitzman said simply increasing the housing supply would not fix the problem.
“Pure supply-based affordability is not working to bring down housing prices for most families,” she said.
“I don’t expect it to have any impact on housing prices.”
Sam Lally from Buyers Advocate Australia said the announcement would be welcomed by some homebuyers.
“It’s great for first-home buyers entering into the market, obviously allowing more useable land in the district to get more buyers with their foot on the property ladder,” he said.
However, he predicted it would not have a big impact on the main problem area for housing affordability in Melbourne — the inner-city market.
“The reason why we’re finding a lot of house prices are unaffordable in the Melbourne market is mainly due to supply and demand,” he said.
“There’s a lot more demand out there for the inner-city markets for established property than there are for off the plan and house and land packages.”
He said the new blocks would add to the affordable supply of homes on the city’s fringes.
“There are other areas outside of Melbourne with established homes that are affordable in comparison to the inner-city markets like your Doreens, your Meltons, your Sunburys — those type of areas that are already established.”
Alternative plan should build up, not out: expert
Professor Whitzman said expanding Melbourne’s fringes was not the answer.
“It’s quite expensive to keep on building infrastructure, water infrastructure, sewerage infrastructure for a geographically expanding city and it isn’t leading to housing affordability gains.”
She believes there needs to be more housing in the inner city, where infrastructure already exists.
“There’s been a number of studies that suggest that up to 500,000 new building lots could be developed within the current belt area of Melbourne,” Professor Whitzman said.
“Greater Melbourne is quite low density in relation to other cities around the world.”