City of Newcastle explores affordable housing options

08 May 2022

City of Newcastle has kicked off the process of exploring options for additional affordable housing in Newcastle as part of the implementation of its Local Housing Strategy 2020.

Tenders are being invited from suitable organisations, including community housing providers, to conduct a feasibility study into the delivery of affordable housing on sites owned by City of Newcastle (CN).

The study is in line with priority actions in the community-endorsed Local Housing Strategy adopted by Council in November 2020, which sets the framework for the provision of housing across Newcastle during the next 20 years.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said with rising cost of living pressures and a rapidly increasing population, it was important to ensure Newcastle's housing mix reflected the needs and preferences of the community.

"City of Newcastle is committed to helping increase the range and supply of housing to meet the needs of our growing community," Cr Nelmes said.

"Housing affordability in Newcastle is at or very near to crisis point, with data showing there are more than 10,000 families suffering from housing stress across the city.

"The Newcastle Local Housing Strategy considers demographics, housing supply and demand, as well as land use opportunities and constraints.

"A need to increase the supply of affordable rental housing has been identified as a priority in the strategy, which is why we are partnering with the NSW Government on a landmark Memorandum of Understanding that will increase the range and supply of social housing in Newcastle.

"Separately to that arrangement, we have also invited tenders from suitably qualified property consultants, community housing providers and developers for an affordable housing feasibility study, which will investigate models for the ownership, operation and delivery of affordable housing on CN-owned sites including land with existing buildings and usage, or vacant land.

"This will allow us to explore all possible options, including potential funding streams, to ensure the provision of affordable, accessible and sustainable housing in the city.

"The successful tender would also need to identify how we could incorporate multi-purpose community spaces into any affordable housing designs proposed in this study, in order to deliver broader benefits for future residents and the community."

Forecasts shows the Newcastle Local Government Area’s population is set to grow by 41,150 residents to 202,050 by 2041, which will stimulate demand for almost 20,000 new dwellings.

Research has also shown that one in three Newcastle households have an annual income of less than $48,000 and a further 33 per cent suffer housing stress, which is when more than 30 per cent of income is spent on housing.