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Soaring prices drive call for huge investment in social housing

social housing

Think tanks, universities and the social services sector have warned Australia’s lowest income earners face a shortage of affordable housing for decades unless the federal and state governments work together on a multibillion-dollar investment in social housing.

Two separate reports from the Grattan Institute and the Australian Council of Social Service and University of NSW released on Monday said up to $20 billion needed to be sunk into low-cost housing to make up for a two-decade shortfall that is now being exacerbated by a huge increase in property prices.

House prices have climbed by almost 22 per cent over the past year with the median price in Sydney now beyond $1.3 million while in Melbourne it is approaching the $1 million mark.

Research by the ANZ and CoreLogic last week found saving a deposit for a home was now at record levels, with the average household requiring more than a decade to save a 20 per cent deposit.

The rental market is now being affected with increases across much of the country especially in regional areas, which have also recorded record lifts in median house prices.

The independent Grattan Institute said there were about 430,000 social housing properties – where the rent is capped at 25 per cent of an occupant’s income – with no change in the number over the past 20 years. Over that same period, Australia’s population has grown by a third.

It believes a $20 billion social housing fund, overseen by the Future Fund, could provide a revenue stream from its investment earnings that would provide the revenue to build an extra 3000 social housing units a year in perpetuity. The federal government could force states to match the contribution.

By the end of the decade, an extra 24,000 homes could be in place.

Grattan’s director of economic policy program, Brendan Coates, said whichever side of politics won next year’s federal election had to sharply lift investment in social housing without which the nation’s most vulnerable would face long-term financial pain.

“Australia has a housing crisis. Australians are spending more of their incomes on housing than in the past. Poorer people are feeling the pinch most,” he said.

“Many low-income renters are living in poverty, and many more are suffering financial stress. Inequality is increasing, and more Australians are becoming homeless.”

Separate research by the ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership found the Victorian, Queensland, Tasmanian and West Australian governments have promised 23,000 social and community housing units over the next few years.

But there are 155,000 households registered on social housing waiting lists across the country and even the state government promises were only for the short term, with no ongoing commitment to lift investment in the sector.

The research found rental stress was increasing and by August rents were growing at 8 per cent, their fastest rate since 2008 and almost four times the pace of wage growth.

The associate director of UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre, Professor Hal Pawson said the states alongside the federal government had to increase their investment across the sector.

“State governments generally responded well in their emergency actions to help homeless people and protect vulnerable renters during the worst of COVID. And to their credit, some have gone much further by pledging billions for short-term social housing investment,” he said.

“But there is little sign of any positive legacy on the systemic reforms and Commonwealth government re-engagement is fundamentally needed to fix our housing system.”

ACOSS chief executive officer Cassandra Goldie said pressure on low-income earners for housing was growing.

“Community organisations across the country are telling us about the growing levels of despair experienced by people trying and failing to find affordable accommodation for their families in both metropolitan and regional areas,” she said.


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Home Improvements

Top Tips To Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

The Covid epidemic has taught us how precious outdoor space is. Time spent outside is vital for physical and mental health. However, the backyard or garden has become an often neglected space, with so many people in our modern world being too busy and not having the time to take proper care of the area.

These areas are often wasted spaces which is such a shame when they have so much potential and there are easy and low-maintenance ways to give them that vital boost which will, in turn, boost you and your family’s physical and mental health.

By utilising some of our top tips, you can fully enjoy your outdoor space all year round. With the proper adjustments and accessories, you can now extend your enjoyment to any time of day or night and also any season. And you don’t even need green fingers.

In this article, we will look at different ways to help make the most of your outdoor space.

Create Coverage

Don’t let the weather keep you from using your outside space: these stylish patio roof ideas

will turn your unused outdoor space into a protected, usable, and functional patio area ideal for barbeques, entertaining, or for your kids to play in.

Top Tips To Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

Add Decking

Extend your living area with a deck. Stylish decking does not only look amazing, but can offer year-round protection while also providing an entertainment area that the whole family can enjoy.

Decking can be designed to be at ground floor level or elevated to be at first-floor level to take advantage of views and/or maximise your garden space.

Add Warmth and Provide Heat

Patio heaters and outdoor fireplaces are two of the many heating alternatives to add character to an outdoor setting. For those chillier nights, an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can add a lot of atmosphere to a place and make it seem a lot cosier. They can also be really romantic.

Patio heaters may lack the atmosphere of a fireplace, but they are practical and easy-to-use heating options for your outdoor living space that may extend your calendar of outdoor gatherings by several weeks. They are also great focal points for parties.

Pick the Right Furniture

Because you’ll be spending a lot of time out on your patio and decking, you’ll want to make sure you have enough of the right kind of furniture. Outdoor furniture nowadays is made of high-quality, weather-resistant materials and fabrics that can withstand the weather.

There are some incredibly stylish choices around that are long-lasting and weather resistant. Consider synthetic rattan, which is attractive all year and can withstand the rain. Don’t forget to add colourful throws and blankets to make evening or winter gatherings that much more cosier.

Add outside lighting

In the summer, some lighting systems or lamps will help create a joyful atmosphere. Fairy lights can look magical all year round.

As days become shorter, add extra lighting to brighten your outside spaces. Solar and LED lighting fixtures are available, uplighting trees or fences creates visual interest and can expand the impression of the patio.

You may also consider some ornamental lamps to illuminate the steps and path for when you want to get back inside and for added safety for children.

Make A Living Room For Social Gathering

Just because you’re arranging for a place other than your inside home doesn’t mean you must forget about the concepts of social design. When it comes to outdoor spaces or patios especially, it’s easy to overlook this and just push all of the furniture up against the house, so that when everyone sits down, they’re facing away from the house.

If you add an extra sofa or pair of seats facing the home, all of your guests will be able to converse with one another, play cards or board games, socialise, or have meals in an outside setting that seems as cosy and personal as a living room.

Consider An Outdoor Kitchen

Because the kitchen is the core of any house, an outdoor kitchen should be considered for any outdoor space or patio. Creating your second kitchen will not only save you time from running back and forth in and out of your house, but it will also provide a terrific entertaining space.

Outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular, mainly because cooking outdoors is less of a work and more of a pleasure. This is much more than just a backyard barbecue.

The grill is usually the focal point of any outdoor kitchen, but with the appropriate design, you can do a lot more than just grilling. You may create an open-air kitchen that contains a sink, a refrigerator, or any food prep facilities that you need.

Bring in Some Plants

Plants will give your outdoor space that extra boost. Some cleaver and low-maintenance planting can make all the difference. However, if you can’t face plants dying on you or cutting them back, there are many realistic artificial UV resistant plants and trees nowadays that few will know are not the real thing.

Adding a bit of colour and texture in your garden and patio area will lighten the architectural elements and give them a new breath of life. As a result, you’ll have a welcoming and pleasant patio area.

You can buy a few pot plants, plant some around the area, or do a mixture of both. Hanging baskets can also look wonderful.

Don’t Forget About The Decoration

The same rules apply to your outdoor space as they do to your bedroom or living room. Things might grow boring after a while, but changing up your outside space or patio, particularly as the seasons change, can keep it attractive, colourful, and appealing.

Try to bring art and decoration to your patio to make it a true outdoor living space. Make sure to choose neutral tones for your furniture, which you can then improvise with by switching up with different accessories like rugs and cushions from one season to another.


Your outdoor space is a versatile living space that you should make the most of. Even if you are disabled (or just very busy) and cannot keep up with maintaining a garden, you can have a beautiful outside space everyone can enjoy with these ideas.




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Gold Coast

Macquarie Moves Ahead on 52-Storey Broadbeach Tower

Macquarie 1

Macquarie Developments Group is finally moving ahead with its plans to build a 52-storey apartment tower in Broadbeach.

It comes after more than $35 million in sales within a week of its launch and amendments to city plans to boost the tower height from the 2016-approved, 41-storey plans.

The Sydney-based developer applied to the Gold Coast City Council to make the change to the $250-million Assana tower in mid-late 2021 for the tower planned for 15 Rosewood Avenue, Broadbeach, on the corner of the Gold Coast Highway.

This changed the offering within the tower significantly to “house-like proportions”, reducing the number of apartments from 186 to 146 while increasing the bedroom count from 294 to 397.

SJB Architects designed the tower for the 1235sq m site with Arcadia Landscape Architecture responsible for the landscaping.

Assana’s design included 47 residential levels, a ground floor lobby and retail area as well as communal facilities on the mezzanine and level 10.

There would be three five-bedroom apartments, 63 two-, 64 three- and 16 four-bedroom apartments in the tower.


▲ The Assana tower in Broadbeach replaces a vacant block next to the Gold Coast light rail between Cascade Gardens and the beach. 

Macquarie Developments Group chief executive Peter Galvin said they were feeling positive about the project and potential for more developments in the area.

“The response has been great with most of the purchasers commenting that they really like the large apartments as they provide great value for money,” Galvin said.

“They are also impressed with the smart home automation that is all part of the package and the high-level appointments.

“I have always been interested in the Gold Coast and really love the lifestyle that the area provides.

“We also feel that there is true value in developing on the Gold Coast compared to Sydney and other areas in Australia at this current time, however, we are always on the lookout for opportunities.”

SJB director Nick Hatzi said the building was uniquely positioned and would set a precedent for the immediate area.

“It’s currently the only tower in that block, so for us it was very much about getting off on the right foot and showing the direction for the future character of the area,” Hatzi said.

“The curved façade corners and articulated shape have been carefully designed to reduce bulk, maximise views and daylight whilst also responding to the site’s high wind conditions to make usable spaces and providing better amenity for the residents and guests.”

The high unit sales for this development follow a trend for the city which pushed Broadbeach into the top five regional locations for apartment sales in the country.

It recorded $510 million in sales in the 12 months to September 2021 across 654 units.

Laver Residential Projects director James Lampropoulos said the views, location and size of the apartment helped with sales in the ultra competitive market.

“They [they buyers] are also very reassured to know that our project is DA approved and we have one of Australia’s largest tier one construction firms in Multiplex involved, with the expectation we’ll be breaking ground before the middle of the year,” Lampropoulos said.


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Owners Cash In as Residential Resale Gains Skyrocket


The biggest returns on residential resales were made in years not decades as profit-making resales across Australia continue to rise.

Those who ignored residential property price speculation in early 2020 and got into the market, in the nick-of-time, are the biggest winners, according to Corelogic’s latest Pain and Gain Report.

People who held onto residential properties for two years achieved the highest annual profit return, with a median gain around $120,000.

This compared to the other end of the spectrum with properties held for more than 30 years having the highest median gain of just over $745,000.

The report showed profit-making resales rose 92.4 per cent in the September quarter despite widespread lockdowns impacting transaction volumes.

Regional sales had an even higher rate of profit from resales at 93.1 per cent, with the biggest gains made in Hobart, followed by Bendigo, Hume, the Sunshine Coast and Ballarat.

Corelogic head of research Eliza Owen said it was another remarkable result given this quarter was marked by lockdowns across Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT.

“The increase in the rate of profit-making sales is a reflection of strong capital growth across Australian dwelling markets despite Covid-induced disruptions to transaction activity,” Owen said.

“The three months to September was the fifth consecutive quarter in which the rate of profit-making sales across Australia increased.”

The report analysed around 99,000 dwelling resale transactions during the period, down from 106,000 resale events in the June quarter, which likely reflected increased restrictions in that quarter.

The national median nominal gain was $270,000 with total resale profits at $27.3 billion, while median losses were -$37,000, or a total of -$368 million.

Looking forward, profit made in the coming quarters is expected to rise, however, Owen advised caution.

“There are accumulating headwinds for property market performance in the coming months, in the form of higher supply of advertised stock, normalising interest rates, affordability constraints and the possibility of tighter lending restrictions,” Owen said.

“A downswing in Australian housing market values would ultimately impact the profitability of resales, particularly for recent purchasers.”


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