By Kate HaysallThe Central Coast is a place of great change.
It’s a place where new and exciting developments are happening.
It’s a vibrant place, with the biggest concentration of people in the state, and one of the few states that’s managed to remain a centre of economic and cultural development.
It is also the place where the state’s most expensive house is now priced above the average income in NSW, thanks to its relatively strong economic performance over the past 10 years.
It could be said that the Central Coast has long been the state capital of the South West, with Melbourne’s CBD as its main hub.
The region also features the second-highest population growth in Australia, behind Sydney, and the third-highest income growth in the country.
The Central’s housing stock is diverse, but has traditionally been built with a focus on small houses.
While the Central’s population has grown significantly over the last two decades, it’s also had an increase in house prices, with an average of $1,074 per-square-metre in the region over the same period.
In a survey carried out by the University of Sydney, the region was rated as one of Australia’s least affordable cities for people earning less than $30,000 per year, and had the third highest average price of $2,527 per-metres in the nation.
The area has also seen a spike in the number of affordable homes being built, with a median value of $900,000.
But there are concerns over the future of the region’s housing supply, with one of its main cities being the subject of a new federal inquiry into the national housing market.
It comes as the state government is looking to increase the supply of new homes to meet rising demand.
At the moment, it can only accommodate the construction of one-bedroom homes at a time, meaning that the demand for new homes is also expected to continue to increase.
In its inquiry report, the National Housing and Infrastructure Commission (NHIC) has flagged the possibility of a two-bedroom home being built on the North Coast, with further discussions likely to take place with developers.
The inquiry’s chairman, Dr Ian Stewart, said the report highlighted the importance of “building and maintaining a diverse and vibrant housing stock, and encouraging a broader participation of all stakeholders in housing development”.
He also said that NSW needed to consider building “a significant number of new residential units that meet the needs of all Australians”.
Houses are seen as a key way to attract more people to the region and the region as a whole, with more than 90 per cent of all households living in one-bedrooms in NSW.
There are also plans to build more than 20,000 new homes in the next five years, with some estimates of 20,400 new homes by 2030.
Housing Minister, John Kaye, has already announced that he would like to build a third apartment block on the Central Shore.
There are more than 10,000 housing units planned in the area, but the amount of land in the centre is a matter of concern to local residents.
One resident, whose name has been withheld, said it was a “disgrace” that a single-family house was built on his property and there was no planning permission.
“I’m very disappointed to see that they have gone ahead with the plans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t have a building in the future,” he said.
He said there was a lack of transparency around the plans and the government’s reluctance to provide a plan for development.
“This has been a government that has made no effort to engage with us, and that is disappointing,” he told ABC News.
Meanwhile, there are signs of a change in the way developers are looking at how to develop houses in the Central.
Last year, a new NSW Government policy called The NSW Housing Strategy released new guidance for developers to make the most of their existing development sites and build the homes they want.
“In recent years, developers have been focusing on the opportunity for more affordable housing, but there is a strong desire for more density in the city,” the policy states.
“Developers are encouraged to design and build a large proportion of their dwellings as one- and two-bedroom detached houses.”
The Government has been encouraged by the trend in the industry to use more of the existing sites in the CBD and in other areas to facilitate greater density.