Making apartments affordable: Moving from speculative to deliberative development

Sharam, Andrea, Bryant, Lyndall, & Alves, Tom (2015) Making apartments affordable: Moving from speculative to deliberative development. Australian Policy Online.

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Urban planning policies in Australia presuppose apartments as the new dominant housing type, but much of what the market has delivered is criticised as over-development, and as being generic, poorly-designed, environmentally unsustainable and unaffordable. Policy responses to this problem typically focus on planning regulation and construction costs as the primary issues needing to be addressed in order to increase the supply of quality, affordable apartment housing. In contrast, this paper uses Ball’s (1983) ‘structures of provision’ approach to outline the key processes informing apartment development and identifies a substantial gap in critical understanding of how apartments are developed in Australia. This reveals economic problems not typically considered by policymakers.

Using mainstream economic analysis to review the market itself, the authors found high search costs, demand risk, problems with exchange, and lack of competition present key barriers to achieving greater affordability and limit the extent to which ‘speculative’ developers can respond to the preferences of would be owner-occupiers of apartments. The existing development model, which is reliant on capturing uplift in site value, suits investors seeking rental yields in the first instance and capital gains in the second instance, and actively encourages housing price inflation. This is exacerbated by lack of density restrictions, such as have existed in inner Melbourne for many years, which permits greater yields on redevelopment sites. The price of land in the vicinity of such redevelopment sites is pushed up as landholders' expectation of future yield is raised. All too frequently existing redevelopment sites go back onto the market as vendors seek to capture the uplift in site value and exit the project in a risk free manner...

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ID Code: 90144
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: Housing Affordability, Smart Markets, Medium denisty housing, Urban intensification, Deliberative develoment
DOI: 10.4225/50/55875B64E8B0E
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Urban Analysis and Development (120507)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > COMMERCIAL SERVICES (150400) > Real Estate and Valuation Services (150403)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 11 Nov 2015 22:51
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2015 01:07

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