Melbourne to get 12,000 new homes
Home builder Stockland has announced that it is to build 12,000 new homes in Melbourne, a much needed supply boost in answer to the city’s growing demand. The majority of the homes will be 35 km north of the city at the area previously called Lockerbie but now Cloverton. Building will start in the next few months with the first residents able to move in next year. Included in the long-term plan for this area will be new shopping and leisure facilities, train station and a retirement village. The other development will be just short of 1000 homes in Casey to the south east of Melbourne, but these properties will not be started until 2017 with completion of the first units in 2019. 

Planning reform needed to reduce new housing costs
Reform of Queensland’s planning and development assessment system is needed to reduce the cost of new housing for Queenslanders, according to the Property Council of Australia. Executive Director Chris Mountford acknowledges that there have been some positive steps taken in reforming the state’s planning laws but says there is more to be done: “A key area of focus must be local government planning schemes. They determine where building can occur and to what scale, and how applications will be assessed. But the fact is that these schemes are now excessively complex. We have seen recent local government schemes in excess of 4500 pages.” Mr Mountford says that the complexity of these schemes adds time, and therefore money, to all kinds of projects from single home renovations to whole developments: “At the end of the day, complex local planning laws add to the cost of building a house in Queensland.” The Property Council is calling for an independent review of planning schemes to be carried out and published publicly. 

Sydney now the third most unaffordable market in the world
Sydney now ranks third in a league table of the most unaffordable property markets in the world. The latest edition of the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey puts the NSW capital just behind Vancouver and Hong Kong. Melbourne is at number 6 in the top 10, which also includes San Francisco, San Jose, London, San Diego, Auckland and Los Angeles. Overall Australia has more unaffordable cities than any other country in the rankings with 33 entries. Elsewhere in the Asia-Pac region there were ‘seriously unaffordable’ ratings for Japan and Singapore. It isn’t all bad news for Australia though as for the first time in the 11 year history of the survey there are some ‘affordable’ markets; Karratha and Kangoorlie in WA.

Sydney homes are expensive but what about the school fees?
A study of private school fees in Sydney has found that parents who choose that option through primary and high school years will spend more than $500,000. The Australian Scholarships Group says that the city is now the most expensive place in Australia to educate a child privately. For those choosing public schools the costs still add up to more than many cities with school uniforms, transport, trips and other costs amounting to just over $70,000.