MEDIA COMMENTARY: Response to Compulsory acquisition to build housing blocks: costly & won’t fix housing shortage

In response to your article in the Sunshine Coast Daily: “Guru urges compulsory acquisitions along transit corridor”.

While I support Matthew Gross’ recognition of the value of public/private partnerships to deliver a quality end product for the Sunshine Coast community, I strongly object to the suggested solution of compulsorily acquiring 20-30 homes to create 200-300 dwellings housed in “home blocks”.

Instead, I have been urging the Sunshine Coast Council to adopt simple policy changes that go to the heart of the issue of long-term accommodation shortages in beach-side communities. These policies have already proven they help boost affordable accommodation supply in other beach-side communities, like neighbouring Noosa and the Gold Coast.

These beachside communities, under the pressure of housing affordability shortages due to the mass migration to the beaches during Covid, have recently adopted a housing policy to legally convert a 4-5 bedroom house to micro apartments (each with own bathroom and kitchenette) to address a serious accommodation mismatch in supply and demand.

If more attention was given to this simple policy change, which would enable mum and dad investors to convert their 4-5 bedroom properties (many of which are listed as short-term accommodation options) to long-term rentals, not only would the landlords get a sizeable increase in their rental yield (average 60% more a week) for every week in the year, they would also be able to provide affordable accommodation to the increasing number of singles and couples desperately seeking quality, secure, long-term accommodation. This would then free up demand for larger-style rental housing for families who need it.

The best part of my solution is that it could make a difference in a matter of weeks – a far cry from this alternative, which would take years and is likely to significantly drain the public purse.

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