Sydney aims to pack more people in through build-to-rent incentives for developers

Sydney aims to pack more people in through build-to-rent incentives for developers

Photo credit: City of Sydney - Katherine Griffiths

The City of Sydney is looking to fast-track the development of build-to-rent (BTR) projects to tackle the housing crisis with plans to incentivise developers by offering them up to 75 per cent more floor space on new builds and conversion projects.

Under proposed changes to the Sydney Local Environment Plan 2012, developers will have a five-year window to seize on the opportunity to build higher density projects in the build-to-rent sector that would otherwise not be allowed.

The Sydney council says that depending on the site location, developers will be given from 20 to 75 per cent more floor space for build-to-rent developments, including conversion projects.

“The city is constantly changing and growing; our planning system must respond to these changing needs and effectively deliver the space needed for jobs and housing,” says Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

“We’ve seen build-to-rent work well overseas to help address the housing crisis, with these types of developments providing stable and secure accommodation for renters.

“As well as increasing rental stock in central Sydney, this type of accommodation has high occupancy rates. That’s great for inner-city vibrancy and avoids situations where international investors leave newly built flats empty.

“Build-to-rent housing does not sit idle with lights out, as some high-end investor apartments do, and these developments will help revitalise and boost the local economy.”

The City of Sydney has called for feedback on the changes, with public input open until 14 May.

The temporary measure allows developers to apply for the higher density exemptions within five years from when the changes to the planning rules are made.

Moore says the proposal would also see developers able to access 20 per cent more floor space for co-living accommodation, which is aimed at incentivising the development of student and low-income worker accommodation close to major tertiary education institutions.

“Students are one of the groups hit hardest by the rental crisis in Sydney, with the lack of appropriate accommodation and affordability both major issues,” she says.

“By offering these floor space incentives, we hope landowners and developers will create more co-living accommodation in areas like Haymarket, which has proved popular with students.”

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