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Trouble in paradise: Noosa council urged to intervene to ease housing crisis

The Noosa shire, one of the richest places in Australia, is experiencing a housing crisis, with a lack of affordable homes keeping out workers and forcing some businesses to shrink or close altogether.

Dec 13, 2021, updated Dec 13, 2021
Image: Luisa Denu/Unsplash

Image: Luisa Denu/Unsplash

A new report compiled for Noosa Shire Council shows how mismatched the region’s housing stock is to the needs of a large swathe of its population.

The crisis has become so acute that the council is considering giving over some land it owns to build affordable housing.

Despite the need for smaller and multi-unit housing styles, the report found that 80 percent of Noosa’s homes are detached houses with at last three bedrooms.

It found that while demand for residential properties in the shire is vey high, people who do not already own a home will find it difficult to enter the Noosa market.

The number of permanent rental properties has also plummeted as homeowners seek to make money through Airbnb and other short-term accommodation platforms.

“Incomes and wages for jobs located within Noosa Shire are not keeping up with the rising cost of accommodation or commuting,” the report said.

“Businesses and other workplaces are experiencing difficulty attracting and retaining employees who cannot afford to live in the area, this has in instances resulted in businesses down-scaling or even closing.”

It said there was limited scope to build new social housing, adding that “further action or intervention by council is likely to be necessary before it is delivered”.

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It urged he council to adopt a formal housing strategy to improve housing choice and affordability in the region.

Projections of Noosa’s future housing needs suggest about 6400 more dwellings will have to be built over the next 20 years.

The lack of developable land is likely to mean much of this new stock will be “infill development” within existing residential areas.

However, while the bulk of existing homes are large stand-alone homes with multiple bedrooms, the region has a very high proportion of couple only families with no children.

The report, discussed by the council on Monday, recommends it investigate the feasibility of developing a council-owned site near Noosa Junction and another at Cooroy to accommodate affordable housing.

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