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Should housing affordability move up the agenda?

By Louise Morrin

Housing affordability is a major concern for policymakers at the moment, especially with property prices rising across many of the country's biggest cities. New South Wales is no exception to this rule, as the latest Property Council of Australia figures point to the need for more affordable real estate to enter the Sydney market.

Releasing its 2015 Development Assessment Report Card, the group explained that Sydney should be a major focus for policy reform. New South Wales executive director Glenn Byers highlighted that the state is the only one to have "flatlined on its score" compared to the last report.

Mr Byers continued: "Even with record levels of housing approvals, NSW is on track to have a housing deficit of 190,000 dwellings by 2031.

"The complexity of the planning system, the ability of local councils to play politics with developments and the excessive time delays added to developments are the biggest problems facing housing in this state."

Looking beyond the centre of the state capital could be just what you need to find the affordable homes you are searching for. For example, property in Carlton could be well worth a look – it's located about 15 kilometres outside the city and might provide some more scope for your search.

The Property Council of Australia suggested that the construction industry needs to be able to access a system that is both usable and useful, which isn't the case at the moment. This will deliver more homes for the masses, while also helping to bring down prices.

This follows the release of results from the May CoreLogic RP Data Hedonic Home Value Index, which pointed to a 15 per cent year-on-year rise in Sydney house prices. As a result, total gross returns in the city now stand at 19.4 per cent, while the median dwelling price is valued at $752,000.

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