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

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Planning Priority S5

A Metropolis of Three Cities sets out 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 with a place-based approach within a local context.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment's projections of population and household growth in the South District translate to a need for an additional 83,500 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 and cycle-friendly 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). The number of single person households in the District, for example, is expected to increase by 46 per cent over the 20 years to 2036.

The number of single parent and couple only households are also expected to increase by 34 per cent and 32 per cent respectively. This requires more smaller homes, group homes, adaptable homes of universal design and aged care facilities.

Figure 9: South District projected household structure 2011-2036

Download this image s3fs-public/south_figure_09.png (format PNG / 0 KB )

Source: NSW Department of Planning and Environment, 2016 New South Wales State and Local Government Area Household Projections and Implied Dwelling Requirements 2016 to 2036, NSW Government, Sydney.

At the same time, households comprised of couples with children will remain the highest proportion of households. This requires housing that can meet the needs of families as well as flexible housing types that can accommodate multiple generations and family groups living together.

Forty two per cent of the District's housing is provided as either apartments or medium density housing. 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 residence6. In the South District, there are five housing market areas (refer to Figure 10):

  • Sutherland - mostly aligned with the Sutherland Local Government Area
  • St George - the Bayside Council local government area as well as the Riverwood and Roselands parts of Canterbury-Bankstown Local Government Area
  • Bankstown-Holsworthy - containing the Punchbowl, Wiley Park and Lakemba Station precincts of the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor
  • Inner West-Burwood - largely coinciding with the Belmore, Campsie, Canterbury and Hurlstone Park precincts of the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor
  • Inner West-Marrickville - containing the Earlwood and Kingsgrove 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.

Figure 10: South District housing market areas

Source: Greater Sydney Commission, 2016 adapted from Implementing metropolitan planning strategies: taking into account local housing demand. Technical report (2013). City Futures Research Centre UNSW.

Download this image south_figure_10.png (format PNG / 643 KB )

Historic housing supply

Dwelling completions are at their highest levels in 16 years for Greater Sydney. In 2016-17 completions for the South District totalled 3,297 dwellings. In the five years from 2012-2013 to 2016-2017, 12,103 dwellings were completed7. Over half the completions were in the Canterbury-Bankstown Local Government Area. Although more than three-quarters of completions in 2016-2017 were multi-unit dwellings, existing housing stock remains dominated by detached dwellings.

Multi-unit dwellings completions were concentrated near centres along rail lines. Since 2010-11, 55 per cent of these have been in the CanterburyBankstown Local Government Area, concentrated around Bankstown, Campsie and Canterbury. Only 11 per cent have been in the Sutherland Local Government Area, mainly concentrated around Sutherland. Completions in Georges River Local Government Area were concentrated around Hurstville and Kogarah. Multi-unit dwellings provide transitional housing for seniors, homes for small households and more affordable homes for young people and young families.

The remaining housing completions are medium density developments - comprising three to five units or new single or dual occupancy dwellings. These were distributed across the District, particularly in the Canterbury-Bankstown area south of the M5, for example Padstow, Revesby and Panania.

Over the past 10 years, the South District has had an annual average dwelling completions rate of 1,860. Forecast supply of housing growth in the South District has identified the potential for dwelling completions above this annual average in the next five years.

Current initiatives and opportunities

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

  • the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor (Planned Precincts have been announced for Belmore and Lakemba, and Campsie and Canterbury)
  • Riverwood Planned Precinct and Communities Plus - Riverwood Estate State Significant Precinct
  • Bardwell Park Planned Precinct.

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 and designed, 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 South District include:

  • Bankstown Residential Development Study (2009)
  • Canterbury Residential Strategy (2013)
  • Hurstville City Centre Masterplan (2004)
  • Kogarah Council Housing Strategy 2031 (2014), New City Plan (2015) and Kogarah North Urban Design Strategy (2017)
  • Sutherland Housing Strategy (2014) and Sutherland Local Environmental Plan (2015).

Georges River Council has prepared a draft Hurstville City Centre Urban Design Strategy that reviews and updates the existing development standards partly with the aim to identify opportunities for additional housing capacity within the Hurstville City Centre.


Riverwood is home to a strong and growing community, offering easy access to public transport and the airport. The Department of Planning and Environment is working closely with Councils and State Agencies to plan for the Riverwood Precinct and help fast track the jobs, infrastructure and services needed to support current and future communities.

Riverwood also includes the major urban renewal project by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation which currently accommodates around 1,000 social housing dwellings on over 30 hectares of government-owned land.

This is adjacent to the Greater Sydney Green Grid Priority Corridor Salt Pan Creek - known for its parks, semi-urban wetlands, native habitat and mangrove forests that will provide unique amenities for the local community

More housing in the right locations

Creating capacity for new housing in the right locations requires clear criteria for where capacity is to be located. Accommodating homes needs to be linked to local infrastructure - both to optimise existing infrastructure and to maximise investment in new infrastructure. Opportunities for capacity that aligns with infrastructure can be realised by urban renewal, local infill developments and land release areas (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 mass 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 include:

  • alignment with investment in regional and district infrastructure which acknowledges the catalytic impacts of infrastructure such as Sydney Metro Northwest and Sydney Metro City & Southwest, NorthConnex, WestConnex, CBD and South East Light Rail, Parramatta Light Rail, Northern Beaches Hospital
  • other possible future investments such as Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link and Sydney Metro West and opportunities created by enhancements to existing infrastructure such as upgrades to schools, open space including sporting facilities and transport
  • accessibility to jobs, noting that over half of Greater Sydney's jobs are generated in metropolitan and strategic centres
  • accessibility to regional transport, noting that highfrequency transport services can create efficient connections to local transport services and expand the catchment area of people who can access regional transport
  • catchment areas within walking distance (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.

New communities in land release areas
The Growth Area programs of the NSW Department of Planning and Environment guide the development of new communities in land release areas and provide significant capacity into the medium and longer term. These include the North West, South West, Wilton and parts of the Greater Macarthur Growth Areas.

The Western Sydney Airport Growth Area will include new communities at the same time as the development of the Western Economic Corridor around the Western Sydney Airport. An investigation area north and east of the Western Sydney Airport has also been identified - Greater Penrith and Eastern Creek. This will support and manage land release development and urban renewal in association with investment in transport infrastructure connecting the Western Economic Corridor.

Figure 11: South District future housing supply

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

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 S1, S3 and S18)
  • identify 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 the A Metropolis of Three Cities (Objective 10).

Housing targets

Table 2 sets five-year housing targets for the South District. These are based on the Districts 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.

Table 2: South District housing targets by local government area

LGA 0-5 year housing supply target: 2016-2021
Canterbury-Bankstown 13,250
Georges River 4,800
Sutherland 5,200
South District Total 23,250

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 in guidance by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

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 83,500 dwellings, equating to an average annual supply of 4,175 dwellings over 20 years, or approximately one in four of all new homes in Greater Sydney over the next 20 years. Each council will develop 6-10 year housing targets.

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 urban bushland 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 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. This collaboration will also develop mechanisms to deliver the proposed Affordable Rental Housing Targets.

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 clever design to support moderateincome 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.

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 targets for the District
d. the housing strategy requirements outlined in Objective 10 of A Metropolis of Three Cities that include:

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

Canterbury-Bankstown Council

Georges River Council

Sutherland Shire Council


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

Councils and other planning authorities