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Affordable housing: City of Sydney sells Alexandria land

Affordable housing: City of Sydney sells Alexandria land to community providers

Published by: - 19 June 2017. Story by Michael Bleby

The City of Sydney is selling more than 8900 square metres of surplus land to community housing providers to boost the stock of affordable housing in the southern suburbs.

Under terms of the discounted sale, provider City West Housing will purchase the larger part of the site on Botany Road in Alexandria, earmarked for 200 apartments, for $18 million. It will create ground-floor commercial space below the apartments. 

A number of other providers are tendering for the smaller, southern portion of the site, with capacity for another 100 homes. 

A caveat on the land title will ensure that the land is used in perpetuity for affordable housing.

"Although affordable housing is primarily the responsibility of state and federal governments, we're using all the levers available under existing planning laws to deliver a steady stream of affordable homes," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

The country's largest city is also its most unaffordable, and was in January ranked the world's second-least affordable city. Even though there are signs the housing market is coming off its rampant bull run of the last five years, accommodation close to the centre of Sydney remains largely out of reach for first home buyers and key workers such as teachers, police and health care workers. 

Ahead of Tuesday's NSW state budget, the Housing Industry Association said a planned $5000 grant to buyers of new homes would reduce incentives to increase housing supply. 

The Alexandria land is surplus from the Green Square to Ashmore Connector road, a key corridor in the Green Square Town Centre. It is currently vacant and has been used as temporary storage and construction sites for the Green Square Trunk Drain and other projects. 

The subsidised sale price of about $85,000 per affordable dwelling represented a significant reduction on land and housing values in the Alexandria area, a city spokeswoman said.

It is not the first time the City of Sydney has sold land for community housing – it previously sold land to City West Housing on the former Royal South Sydney Hospital site at Portman Street in the Green Square Town Centre. That was completed in 2016. 

The City has also announced a $3 million grant to St George Community Housing Limited to house and support up to 75 young people at risk of homelessness. 

City of Sydney wants the state government to let it extend the affordable housing contribution scheme, a levy it applies a levy on development in Green Square, Ultimo/Pyrmont and the new Southern Employment Lands areas, that it says has helped finance the creation of 800 affordable housing units.

"If the state government approved our request to expand that levy across the city, we could provide even more affordable housing," Ms Moore said. 

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