Housing crisis focus in Port Stephens

Port Stephen

Port Stephens Council is reviewing its Local Housing Strategy due to high living costs and new State Government housing targets.

Port Stephens is expected to be home to 20,000 new residents over the next 20 years and is considered one of the top 10 local government areas outside of Sydney with high housing needs.

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said the population growth is being driven by the significant investment in Port Stephens and the broader Hunter region.

“We know government investment in employment sectors such as defence and aviation, as well as transport investment to make access to surrounding areas such as Maitland and Newcastle, will continue to attract more people to live and work in Port Stephens,” Mayor Palmer said.

“We also know more people are moving to regional areas like Port Stephens for an improved lifestyle balance as remote working opportunities increase.

“It’s this growth, combined with the cost of living, that’s driving the urgency to address housing supply shortages in our community.

“Housing prices and low rental vacancies across Port Stephens have begun to push middle income families out of the market – people aren’t able to live in the neighbourhoods that they work in and are facing difficulties finding the type of homes that are right for their family.

“It’s impacting our local businesses who are struggling to attract workers, particularly in the aged care, tourism, hospitality and health sectors,” Mayor Palmer added.

The State Government has advised Councils of their housing supply expectations, setting targets to guide investment across areas of NSW with high housing needs in transportation, health, education, and housing.

The State Government has set a target of 11,000 new dwellings within Port Stephens over the next 20 years. Council’s forecast housing supply over this period estimates only 7,000 dwellings to be delivered based on the pipeline of housing development, leaving a potential shortfall of 4,000 dwellings.

“We know that we don’t have a lot of unconstrained or undeveloped land available to meet this target, so we’re going to need to look at more diverse housing options in our town centres and opportunities to encourage more housing close to shops, services and transport options,” Mayor Palmer said.

“Over recent months we’ve been working with our elected Council to look at how we, as a community can address the housing crisis.

“We’ve discussed opportunities to increase supply and the diversity of housing across Port Stephens in the short, medium and long term.

“In November we’ll be hosting a Housing Forum, with key stakeholders from different sectors coming together to have in-depth conversations about what actions need to be taken to ease housing pressures and support Port Stephens into the future.

“Information gathered from our discussions at the forum will help guide the revision of our Local Housing Strategy, planned for public exhibition in early 2024,” Mayor Palmer added.

The Local Housing Strategy sets the strategic direction for future housing growth across Port Stephens. It guides land use planning for new housing and outlines the outcomes, priorities and actions to achieve balanced and sustainable growth.

/Public Release. View in full here.