Outgoing Stockland CEO Mark Steinert says the region has some key questions to answer about housing density and options as growth accelerates rapidly.
After 8.5 years at the helm, Mr. Steinert spoke in front of a crowded house in Maroochy RSL at a Sunshine Coast Business Council event last week.
Mr Steinert told the crowd he expected the work from home trend to add pressure on the affordability and availability of housing in attractive regions like the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Steinert, who is currently building a new home in Noosa, said the Sunshine Coast must wonder if it has the current balance in choosing apartments.
Mr. Steinert warned that if two thirds of the new housing supply represent a variation in living space, there is a real chance that independent houses could form a small minority of new houses in the coming decades.
He predicted a society where only those with intergenerational equity could own home if the pursuit and achievement of urbanized growth radically transformed existing communities and ways of life.
« A high density in areas like South Bank, Surfers Paradise and Maroochydore combined with mid-ring townhouses and low-rise products around village centers will be an integral part of our ability to grow, » Steiner said.
« But it should give a break to decision-makers in local government areas like the Sunshine Coast, which currently have a 65 percent infill densification target, which is higher than Melbourne and Perth. »
Mr. Steinert said tilting the density equation too far in one direction would reduce choices for home buyers.
« The questions for the Sunshine Coast are: ‘With what density can we maintain our way of life and grow sustainably?’ and more importantly, « Do we think we have the right balance right now? » he said.
Mr. Steinert urged the crowd to « do all we can » to hold on to the features that have made the coast a great and unique region.
« Connecting Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Ipswich with Brisbane via a faster rail network offers tremendous opportunities for lifestyle-based living and economic growth, » said Steiner.
« Only 15 percent of Sunshine Coast residents commute to work in the Brisbane area, and 2 percent use public transport.
« In the Illawarra area of NSW, a similar distance from the city, nearly 30 percent commute to Sydney and 8 percent use public transit.
« Heavy rails on the coast are arguably the missing link to address the road capacity problems of the broader region and realize its economic potential.
Mr Steinert said Stockland’s Aura property in Caloundra South has been the best-selling planned parish in the country for five years.
He said Stockland has invested more than $ 625 million in the region where it is most represented outside of a capital city in the past three years.
Mr Steinert said that the region’s three fundamental differences – security, opportunity and demand – have been under pressure and that the face of the regions, especially those near urban centers, is changing.
« In the past 10 years, the Sunshine Coast has taken the national stage – it has integrated into southeast Queensland, shifting from a region near Brisbane to the northern tip of a nearly 200-mile metropolitan area, » he said.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has long been committed to preserving the inner-city break to create clear definition and valuable green space between the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay.
Mr Steiner said the certainty in policy-making, « once a defining feature of this region », has slowly succumbed to political forces in recent years.
He said it was necessary to address the impact of population growth and made it clear that this was not a phenomenon that the region could oppose.
« It’s up to us, and history shows that ignoring only serves to heighten the challenges and leads to frustration in the community, » Steinert said.
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