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Providing housing supply, choice and affordability, with access to jobs, services and public transport

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Planning Priority E5

A Metropolis of Three Cities sets objectives to deliver housing supply and affordability. The location, type and cost of housing requires choices that have far reaching impacts on quality of life, including time spent commuting, which affects people's ability to spend time with family or in the community.

The housing continuum recognises all types of housing from crisis and social housing through to market housing. Housing is more than just dwellings and needs to be considered in a local context with a place-based approach.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment's projections of population and household growth in the Eastern City District translate to a need for an additional 157,500 homes between 2016 and 2036.

Housing diversity and choice

New housing must be in the right places to meet demand for different housing types, tenure, price points, preferred locations and design. Housing supply must be coordinated with local infrastructure to create liveable, walkable neighbourhoods with direct, safe and universally designed pedestrian and cycling connections to shops, services and public transport. This means that some areas are not appropriate for additional housing due to natural or amenity constraints, or lack of access to services and public transport.

Planning for housing needs to consider the type of dwellings required to respond to expected changes in household and age structures (refer to Figure 9).

Figure 9: Eastern City District projected household structure 2011-2036.

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The number of single-person households is projected to increase by 61,100 households and comprise 35 per cent of all household types across the District. Couple-only households are expected to experience strong growth, increasing by 31,750 households to 2036. This requires more smaller homes, group homes, homes of universal design and aged care facilities.

By local government area, the greatest proportional increase in single-person households will be in the City of Sydney (from 45 to 48 per cent) and Waverley (34 to 37 per cent). The greatest proportional decrease in households made up of couples with children are expected in Bayside (from 35 to 33 per cent) and Canada Bay (34 to 32 per cent). Of course, while proportions decrease, overall the numbers of these households are still increasing with population growth.

Seventy eight per cent of the District's housing is provided as either apartment or medium density housing6 . Multi-unit dwellings can provide important housing for seniors and more affordable homes for young people. This needs to be balanced with medium density row, terrace and villa homes that provide diversity, especially for larger households. A diverse mix of housing can provide greater opportunities to cater for a range of changing needs.

Housing preferences

Research into housing preferences in Greater Sydney has shown that people generally prefer to remain within their local area, with 82 per cent of residents moving into a new home within 15 kilometres of their former residence7 . There are five housing market demand areas that influence the housing market in the Eastern City District (refer to Figure 10):

  • City and Harbourside - located entirely within the Eastern City District, this housing market area comprises all of Woollahra and Waverley local government areas and part of Randwick and City of Sydney local government areas
  • Eastern Shore - located entirely within the Eastern City District, this housing market area comprises the majority of Randwick, part of the City of Sydney and the former Botany Bay local government areas
  • Inner West-Marrickville - the majority of this housing market area sits within the Eastern City District and contains part of the City of Sydney as well as most of the Inner West local government areas
  • Inner West-Burwood - the majority of this housing market area sits within the Eastern City District and contains part of the Inner West Local Government Area as well as Burwood, Canada Bay and Strathfield local government areas
  • St George - located partially within the Eastern City District, this housing market area comprises the entirety of the Georges River Local Government Area, part of Bayside Local Government Area as well as the Riverwood and Roselands parts of the Canterbury-Bankstown Local Government Area.

These housing markets mean that providing supply in one market demand area may not satisfy demand in another. Understanding need and capacity in individual housing markets will better satisfy residents' preferred housing locations.

Historic housing supply

The Eastern City District is experiencing significant housing growth. In 2016-17 the District experienced 7,598 dwelling completions. In the five-year period from July 2012 - June 2017, 36,889 dwellings were completed, which represents 27 per cent of all completions in Greater Sydney over this period and an increase of 96 per cent on the previous five-year period (2007-08 to 2011-12).

The highest completions over this time were in the City of Sydney (13,660 dwellings), Bayside (8,570 dwellings), Canada Bay (3,990 dwellings) and Inner West (3,575 dwellings) local government areas. Strathfield Local Government Area is emerging as a significant housing delivery area with 2,250 dwelling completed in the past five years.

The rates of delivery of housing along the District's eastern edge has been lower than those in the remainder of the District. Dwelling completions have focused around strategic centres and transport nodes, with a large proportion of these being multi-unit dwellings.

Figure 10: Eastern City District housing market areas.

"Figure 10:  Eastern City District housing market areas.   A map showing the district boundary, local government area boundaries and the five different housing market areas within the district.

Source: Greater Sydney Commission, 2016 adapted from Implementing metropolitan planning strategies: taking into account local housing demand.

Download this image eastern_figure_10.jpg (format PNG / 574 KB )

Of the District's total housing stock, 59 per cent are multi-unit dwellings compared with 32 per cent across Greater Sydney8 . Large-scale urban renewal precincts are increasing both the numbers and proportion of high density dwellings and are the primary location for housing growth across the District. This type of renewal will contribute to housing supply into the future and improve liveability outcomes through enhanced amenity, connectivity, infrastructure and jobs growth.

Over the past 10 years the Eastern City District has had an annual average dwelling completions rate of 5,570. Forecast supply of housing growth in the Eastern City District has identified the potential for dwelling completions above this annual average in the next five years.

Significant projects providing housing supply in the short term include:

  • Ashmore Precinct, Erskineville
  • Harold Park, Annandale
  • Green Square, Alexandria
  • Little Bay Cove, Little Bay.

Current initiatives and opportunities

Additional capacity for housing supply is well progressed across much of the District. Current State-led initiatives include:

  • Redfern to Eveleigh Urban Transformation
  • The Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor
  • Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy
  • Bayside West Precincts, including Arncliffe and Banksia Planned Precincts
  • The Bays Precinct Transformation Plan
  • Planned Precincts:
    • Rhodes East
    • Burwood, Strathfield, and Homebush
    • Turrella
    • Bardwell Park
    • Anzac Parade corridor
  • Communities Plus:
    • Waterloo
    • Redfern
    • Arncliffe.

The Planned Precincts will be consistent with the objectives and strategies of A Metropolis of Three Cities and the relevant district plans to enhance liveability, sustainability and productivity. These projects will be well planned, designed and delivered in collaboration with councils and informed by State agencies and their asset plans. This planning will be supported by a Special Infrastructure Contribution or similar satisfactory arrangement to help fund the delivery of essential community infrastructure such as health facilities, schools, open space and roads.

Local government strategies that identify opportunities to increase capacity for housing in the Eastern City District include:

  • Ashfield Urban Planning Strategy 2010
  • Botany Bay Urban Design Controls Study 2010
  • Canada Bay Local Planning Strategy 2010
  • Marrickville Urban Strategy (2007)
  • Randwick City Plan (2013)
  • Strathfield Residential Land Use Strategy (2011)
  • City of Sydney Housing Strategy (Sustainable Sydney 2030)
  • Waverley Council's Bondi Junction Urban Design Review (2013)
  • Woollahra Municipal Council's Opportunity Sites Study (2010)
  • Rockdale Council's Residential Strategy (2007)
  • Rockdale Urban Centres Strategy (2010)
  • Rockdale Town Centre Masterplan (2012).

Further opportunities exist to align growth with infrastructure investment. These include:

  • urban renewal opportunities to integrate with Sydney Metro projects
  • urban renewal opportunities that leverage potential future mass transit to Malabar, Maroubra, La Perouse and Port Botany.

More housing in the right locations

Creating capacity for new housing in the right locations requires clear criteria for where capacity is located.

Accommodating homes for the next generation needs to be linked to local infrastructure - both to optimise existing infrastructure use and to maximise investment in new infrastructure. Opportunities for capacity can be realised by urban renewal and local infill developments (refer to Figure 11).

Urban renewal

Opportunities for urban renewal need to be considered by location and by capacity of existing and proposed infrastructure. In older more established parts of Greater Sydney, urban renewal opportunities may exist around regional transport and strategic centres where links for walking and cycling promote a healthy lifestyle and contribute to liveability.

Where there is significant investment in transit corridors, both existing and proposed, urban renewal may best be investigated in key nodes along the corridor. Corridor investigations can provide a longer term strategic context while the development of precincts within the corridor is sequenced over time.

Locational criteria for urban renewal investigation opportunities could include:

  • alignment with investment in regional and district infrastructure. This acknowledges the catalytic impacts of infrastructure such as Sydney Metro City & Southwest, WestConnex, CBD and South East Light Rail
  • other possible future NSW Government investments such as and Sydney Metro West. It also acknowledges the opportunities created by enhancements to existing infrastructure such as upgrades to schools, open space, including sporting facilities, and transport
  • accessibility to jobs, noting close to half of greater Sydney's jobs are generated in strategic centres
  • accessibility to regional transport, noting that high-frequency transport services can create efficient connections to local transport services and expand the catchment area of people who can access regional transport
  • efficient interchanges and a comprehensive walking and cycling network
  • the catchment area that is within walking distance (up to 10 minutes) of centres with rail, light rail or regional bus transport
  • areas of high social housing concentration where there is good access to services, transport and jobs
  • distance from special land uses such as ports and airports

Local infill development
Local infill development - the missing middle - refers to medium density housing such as villas and townhouses within existing areas, that provide greater housing variety.

Councils are in the best position to investigate and confirm which parts of their local government areas are suited to additional medium density opportunities. As part of their investigations councils should consider:

  • transitional areas between urban renewal precincts and existing neighbourhoods
  • residential land around local centres where links for walking and cycling help promote a healthy lifestyle
  • areas with good proximity to regional transport where more intensive urban renewal is not suitable due to challenging topography or other characteristics
  • lower density parts of suburban Greater Sydney undergoing replacement of older housing stock
  • areas with existing social housing that could benefit from urban renewal and which provide good access to transport and jobs.

Design guidelines set out in the NSW Department of Planning and Environment's Draft Medium Density Design Guide show how this infill can promote good design outcomes.

Figure 11: Eastern City District future housing supply

Source: Greater Sydney Commission, Department of Planning and Environment & NSW Government Housing Affordability Package

Housing strategies

Housing strategies Housing strategies are to be prepared by councils for a local government area or district and given effect through amendments to local environmental plans. To deliver coordinated outcomes the development of housing strategies are to be aligned with councils' community strategic planning and to inform local strategic planning statements and local environmental plans. To address housing supply, housing strategies are to be developed by councils to:

  • make provision for the anticipated growth associated with the 0-5 and 6-10 year housing targets (when agreed)
  • align projected growth with existing and proposed local infrastructure and open space improvements (refer to Planning Priorities E3, E4 and E18)
  • identify the right locations for growth, including areas that are unsuitable for significant change in the short to medium term
  • identify capacity to contribute to the District's 20-year strategic housing target
  • inform the Affordable Rental Housing Target Schemes for development precincts
  • coordinate the planning and delivery of local and State infrastructure.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment will prepare guidelines to support housing strategies as outlined in A Metropolis of Three Cities (Objective 10).

Housing targets

Table 2 sets five-year housing targets for the Eastern City District. These are based on the District's dwelling needs and existing opportunities to deliver supply. They include traditional detached and attached houses, apartments and granny flats.

The five-year targets are generally consistent with known housing approvals and construction activity. These are minimum targets and largely reflect delivery potential under current planning controls.

Each council is to develop 6-10 year housing targets. The 6-10 year housing targets will be developed iteratively through the housing strategy. The strategy is to demonstrate capacity for steady housing supply into the medium term. Principles for housing are set out below and will be expanded on in guidance by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

Table 2: Eastern City District housing targets by local government area

LGA 0-5 year housing supply
target: 2016-2021
Bayside 10,150
Burwood 2,600
Canada Bay 2,150
Inner West 5,900
Randwick 2,250
Strathfield 3,650
City of Sydney 18,300
Waverley 1,250
Woollahra 300
Eastern City District

Meeting housing demand over 20 years requires a longer term outlook. A Metropolis of Three Cities sets a District 20-year strategic housing target of 157,500, equating to an average annual supply of 7,875 dwellings, or one in five of all new homes in Greater Sydney over the next 20 years.

Future Transport 2056 identifies city-shaping transport projects that will, in the long term, improve accessibility to jobs and services, and act as a stimulus for additional housing supply. To deliver the 20-year strategic housing target, councils should, in local housing strategies, investigate and recognise opportunities for long-term housing supply associated with city-shaping transport corridors; growing, emerging and new centres; and other areas with high accessibility.

Principles for housing strategies

Housing strategies play an important role in planning for more liveable neighbourhoods and to meet housing demand by responding to the following principles:

  • Housing need: the projected housing need and demographic characteristics of the existing and growing community, including different cultural, socio-economic and age groups and the availability of a range of housing types, tenures and price points.
  • Diversity: including a mix of dwelling types, a mix of sizes, universal design, seniors and aged care housing, student accommodation, group homes, and boarding houses.
  • Market preferences: market demand considerations that drive the take-up of housing, including local housing preferences.
  • Alignment of infrastructure: opportunities to optimise transport infrastructure enabling access to jobs, health, education and recreation facilities, that align with State and local government infrastructure priorities (refer to 'More housing in the right locations').
  • Displacement: managing potential impacts of growth on existing communities such as displacement by understanding the location and volume of affordable rental housing stock.
  • Amenity: opportunities that improve amenity including recreation, the public realm, and increased walkable and cycle-friendly connections to centres.
  • Engagement: engaging the community on a range of options and neighbourhood priorities that can be integrated with new housing and benefit existing and future communities.
  • Efficiency: opportunities for innovations in waste management, water and energy provision by determining the nature of growth, location and demand for utilities.

Key technical aspects of preparing a housing strategy to improve housing affordability and choice will be further supported by a new planning circular and guidelines to be prepared by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. Key aspects include:

  • Capacity: land with potential for rezoning for residential development.
  • Viability: the assessment of new areas and whether the capacity created is financially viable for a range of configurations (one, two, three or more bedrooms) and is consistent with market demand and planning controls.
  • Good design: buildings that exhibit design excellence in neighbourhoods that are walkable, cycle friendly, connected to transport and services, and have a mix of land uses to support active healthy and socially-connected communities.
  • Environment: green infrastructure including biodiversity and waterways, local features (such as topography, heritage and cultural elements, visual impacts, natural hazards such as flooding, special land uses and other environmental constraints) lot sizes, strata ownership and the transition between different built forms. 
  • Mix: a mix of housing types that allows people to relocate within their local area and stay connected to community services, friends and family.
  • Supply: land zoned for residential development, served by adequate infrastructure and ready for development projects.
  • Affordable rental housing: through housing diversity for those on moderate incomes and affordable rental housing for low and very lowincome households.
  • Local character: recognising the distinctive and valued combination of characteristics that contribute to local identity.
  • Social housing: more and better access to supported and/or subsidised housing.
  • Delivery: the staging of enabling infrastructure, upgrades or expansions of local infrastructure such as schools, open space including sportsgrounds and community facilities.
  • Monitoring: homes completed and ready for occupation.

A place-based planning approach to the development of housing strategies will help facilitate high quality urban outcomes including the creation of walkable neighbourhoods which support active and healthy lifestyles, as well as the creation and renewal of great places.

Affordable Rental Housing Targets

 Housing has a dual social and economic role across Greater Sydney. Communities require housing that meets changing demographic needs over time and that provides stability. At the same time housing has an economic productivity role by providing housing choice and affordability for a cross section of workers.

Research and testing of needs through stakeholder and community consultation reaffirms the critical importance of providing a diversity of housing outcomes across the housing continuum in Greater Sydney.

Ensuring a steady supply of market housing in locations supported by existing or planned services and amenity with an emphasis on public transport access, is outlined in Objective 10 of A Metropolis of Three Cities.

The Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy provides incentives for development projects to include a 10-year term for affordable rental housing dwellings for very low to moderate income households, however the areas where this is being applied are limited.

A Metropolis of Three Cities includes Affordable Rental Housing Targets for very low to low-income households in Greater Sydney. Affordable Rental Housing Targets that are generally in the range of 5-10 per cent of new residential floor space are subject to viability. A Metropolis of Three Cities identifies the need for further work by the Greater Sydney Commission to support the implementation of the Affordable Rental Housing Targets including consideration of allocation, ownership, management and delivery models.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Greater Sydney Commission will also jointly investigate ways to facilitate housing diversity through innovative purchase and rental models.

Further opportunities for planning to support housing affordability and diversity measures include:

  • more compact housing, either on smaller land lots or through a proportion of smaller apartments of innovative design to support moderate-income households and particularly key workers and skilled workers in targeted employment areas such as health and education precincts
  • new owner-developer apartment models that support lower cost and more flexible delivery of apartments for like-minded owner groups.
Photograph of apartment blocks in Canada Bay

Canada Bay


Prepare local or district housing strategies that address the following:

a. the delivery of five-year housing supply targets for each local government area
b. the delivery of 6-10 year (when agreed) housing supply targets for each local government area
c. capacity to contribute to the longer term 20-year strategic housing target for the District
d. the housing strategy requirements outlined in Objective 10 of A Metropolis of Three Cities that include:

i. creating capacity for more housing in the right locations
ii. supporting planning and delivery of growth areas and planned precincts as relevant to each local government area
iii. supporting investigation of opportunities for alignment with investment
in regional and district infrastructure
iv. supporting the role of centres.

Bayside Council, Burwood Council, City of Canada Bay, Council of the City of Sydney, Inner West Council, Randwick City Council, Strathfield Council, Waverley Council and Woollahra Municipal Council


Prepare Affordable Rental Housing Target Schemes following development of implementation arrangements.

Councils and other planning authorities