Despite a massive surge in high-rise apartments, Sydney is running out of affordable housing. Photo: Alec Smart

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BY ISOBEL RUSHE

The turn of a New Year hasn’t vanished Sydney’s housing affordability crisis, with housing costs at an all-time high. The City of Sydney’s Labor Councillor Linda Scott is committed to working towards a housing affordability scheme that benefits our city.

Mrs Scott has long been an advocate for more affordable housing and public housing in the City, with several successful motions from 2014 to recent.
“The City desperately needs to take more action to deliver affordable housing, so a more affordable Sydney becomes a reality for the future. I have worked hard over the years to make this happen and will continue to do so.”

In 2014 Sydney Council led successful motions that led to the City writing to the owners of vacant residential properties and invited them to consider engaging in affordable housing projects.
Since then Linda has worked to improve these matters further and work with many affordable housing providers to continue to close the gap.

She has achieved success with the rental homes in the inner city and inner west.
“I’m proud the City has worked with affordable housing providers,” she said, “which has resulted in commitments to create new affordable rental homes in areas such as Glebe and Pyrmont. But there is still a lot to do and I will continue to work towards this.”

Inner City Real Estate Agent Sarah Jennings has worked in Sydney’s rental market for over 5 years and says; “This City is undoubtedly getting more expensive to rent when compared to other states. Sydney’s weekly rent for a one-bedroom flat is almost double.
“Although the government and council are trying to amend this I think there is a long way to go. I really think this is more of an economics question more so than what the council can do. Like everyone says, the market needs to crash.”

A recent housing affordability report by Australian National University identified that despite an overly saturated supply of housing, property prices have surged in many inner city suburbs over the past five years. These discoveries cast doubt on the opinions of many federal and local politicians, that adding more housing supply is the best way to improve the affordability crisis.

Linda Scott commented on the price of rental housing in this area and said; “Some measures estimate that as little as one percent of available accommodation in the City of Sydney is affordable rental housing. This is totally unacceptable for a global city.
“The City of Sydney Housing Issues Paper contains a number of measures that the City could take to support an increase in affordable housing. I am committed to fighting to have these implemented.”

Recent SQM Research on vacancy rates revealed that the problem areas are Sydney’s inner city and south-west.
South West areas have some of the worst vacancy rates nationwide, with rates all lower than 1%. However, Sydney’s central business district is not far behind with the city being 2.5%, Chippendale recording rates lower than 2%, and Ultimo just shy of 1.5%.

These rates reveal a severe property shortage within our central areas. Councillor Linda Scott is committed to working with these areas in order to investigate possible state and local government incentive mechanisms to support supply-side constraints of long-term renting which will inevitably help renters stay in housing with little inflation in rental prices.
“In 2018, I am committed to working towards further action on affordable housing by the City.”

We look forward to seeing how to local council answer this housing crisis in upcoming council meetings.