Calls for commission to consider retirees

Calls for commission to consider retirees

Posted on Wednesday, July 01 2015 at 11:21 AM

Calls have been made by executive chairman of Raine Horne Angus Raine for the Greater Sydney Commission (established in last week’s NSW Budget) to help promote more suitable housing for retirees, such as low-density apartment blocks and villas, in order to help address the city’s real estate affordability issues.

The NSW Government will invest $20.9 million
over four years to launch the Greater Sydney Commission, which has been given
the task of overseeing the delivery of new housing, infrastructure and
services, across the metropolitan area.

To help meet its target of 664,000 dwellings in
Greater Sydney by 2031, the state government has allocated $400 million to
support new housing supply in infill and greenfield areas, as well as $89.1
million to help cut council red tape.

“The Greater Sydney Commission is an excellent
initiative but it must find ways to deliver suitable housing to retirees still
living in oversized family homes across the metropolitan area,” Raine says, adding
that he believes Sydney requires more medium-density housing and villas, where
land prices make this a feasible alternative for developers.

“There’s been plenty of news about the massive
growth in apartment developments across Sydney, but the majority of this stock
isn’t suitable for retirees, who are already hampered by the prospect of paying
stamp duty to downsize.

“If the commission can help encourage more
Sydney empty-nesters to downsize out of bigger family homes, it will go some
way towards helping to address the city’s affordability issues,” he says.

Raine also urges the NSW Government to do more
to promote the benefits of downsizing to a bigger population centre such as
Newcastle, Bathurst, Wagga, Tamworth, Dubbo and Orange.

“These centres offer all the amenities and
facilities that retirees have come to expect in the city, yet real estate
prices are significantly more affordable,” he says.

In the St George and Sutherland Shire region,
Ray Fadel, principal of Raine Horne Sans Souci, agrees that the explosion
of high-rise apartment towers in his region is not really addressing the
housing needs of empty-nesters.

“Older Australians want to live in villas or
three-bedroom apartments in smaller blocks that have views and are within
walking distance of shops and transport,” he says.

“There’s not much stock like that in our region
apart from Cronulla, Ramsgate and Brighton.

“The majority of the new developments in the St
George/Sutherland region offer two-bedroom apartments, located in high-rise
towers where owners must share the space with hundreds of other occupants.

“Even though they all have lift access, the high-rise
towers are not for retirees in many cases.”

Older three-bedroom villas worth around $1
million are proving popular with retirees, although they’re also in short
supply, according to Fadel.

“The trouble is that the three-bedroom villas
were selling for about $700,000 a few years ago. They’re now up above $1
million, which doesn’t free up much cash for retirees considering a downsizing
strategy,” he says.

On the North Shore, Hugh Macfarlan, principal of Raine Horne
Chatswood/Willoughby, says the cost of land generally prohibits the development
of villas.

Municipality, which covers off suburbs between Wahroonga in the north and
Roseville in the south, has responded with plenty of new low-rise apartment
blocks that offer stylish three-bedroom apartments with generous floor plans
and lifts, which are suitable for downsizers,” he says.

apartments are more manageable than large houses on big blocks with tennis
courts and pools, that many on the Upper North Shore continue to live in because
of a shortage of suitable options.

duty is already a problem and this is keeping many older North Shore residents
in bigger homes, so it would be great to see the new Greater Sydney Commission
consider ways to address housing affordability issues – and this probably means
encouraging the development of larger quality apartments close to good
amenities that would suit downsizers very well.”

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