Digesting Sydney’s Draft District Plans (Part 2)

06 February 2017
Digesting Sydneys Draft District Plans for Property Owners and Businesses

In part 2 of our three part series on the District Plans we will be providing some insight on what the plans mean for property owners and businesses. To recap on our overview of the District Plans and how they reinvent our thinking of Sydney as a city of 6 new districts see Part 1 of the series.

Property Owners Take Note

In the last few years the Sydney housing market has been experiencing significant growth with an increased level of housing development making up for an historic undersupply. The housing targets set out in the District Plans indicate this higher level of housing development is anticipated to continue and become the new normal with 37,000 new dwellings to be delivered across Sydney each year through to 2036 to accommodate an additional 2.1 million people.

If you own underdeveloped land in The Hills, Blacktown, Liverpool, Campbelltown and Camden local government areas, it probably won’t come as a surprise that your land will likely accommodate future housing associated with Sydney’s new outer residential suburbs (unless it’s situated underneath the new Western Sydney Airport flight path or has bushfire or flooding restrictions). With Box Hill North, Vineyard and Menangle Park, amongst others earmarked for such development over the next 5-10 years, the District Plans acknowledge that housing estates in the outer ring are a necessary component of envisaged growth, especially given the significant Government spends on infrastructure such as the Western Sydney Airport, the M9 and M12 Motorway projects and the Sydney Metro North-West line.

The fastest rates of housing growth are projected in the West Central and South West Districts encapsulating The Hills, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Liverpool and Camden local government areas.

Central District

High levels of housing growth are not limited to areas around Western Sydney however with 157,500 new homes projected to be delivered across the Central District by 2036. If you have property interests in the established inner-ring suburbs, there will be opportunities to deliver new housing in the form of mixed use and residential apartment developments around specialist centres with good transport access as well as ‘missing middle’ housing types, such as townhouses, terraces, three-storey walk ups and villas.

North, South and West Districts

For those with property interests in the North, South and West Districts housing projections are somewhat lower to reflect the geographical constraints of these areas. In the West District (Penrith, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains) 41,500 new dwellings are projected by 2036, just 2,075 dwellings per year, a majority of which will be delivered in and around the Penrith City sub catchment. In the North, housing delivery is to be targeted around the new Northern Beaches Hospital and the metro line infrastructure through Chatswood, St Leonards, Macquarie Park and North Sydney. In the South, new housing is to be focussed around the Kogarah Specialist Centre as well as Bankstown, Hurstville, Sutherland and Canterbury.

The key takeaway for property owners is that opportunities for new development across Sydney will continue to exist in both new release areas on the fringe of the city and within existing urban areas with good access to transport and services. What is made apparent in the District Plans is that an overarching objective of the NSW Government is to ensure enough new homes are delivered in order to address the housing affordability crisis in Sydney on the supply side. Continued high population growth, as forecast in the District Plans, means that demand for housing will likely balance out this higher sustained level of new housing development.

Key Points for Property Owners:

  • New housing targeted for the outer periphery as well as inner city in-fill areas;
  • Housing affordability a result of historical backlog in demand and supply;
  • The dwelling supply targets across Sydney over the next 20 years are expected to continue at the current rates and not increase exponentially – the current rates of development are the new norm for Sydney;

Information for Businesses

Probably the most significant message to take out of the work undertaken by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) is the importance of investing capital back in to our established and proposed strategic centres to drive job growth around key infrastructure and services. The plans carry a focus on job growth more so than housing growth and acknowledge that the construction sector can only carry us so far. “Smart jobs and innovation industries” are to be driven by the growing financial, technological, education and health sectors.

Hospitals and universities, and everything associated with these important nodes form the focus of big government investments in infrastructure, resourcing and development. These investments in critical infrastructure will open up multiple opportunities for the establishment of new supportive industries, innovative commercial office space and retail trade.

Vision of Innovative Industries in Sydney’s Bays Precinct (Source: Scott Carver Architects)

Vision of Innovative Industries in Sydney’s Bays Precinct (Source: Scott Carver Architects)

Growth of employment zones, extending to light industries, warehousing, bulky goods, manufacturing and suppliers are focussed around the established centres of Wetherill Park, Norwest, Smeaton Grange and most importantly the new Western Sydney Aerotropolis. With the opening of the first runway at Badgery’s Creek in 2026 the writing on the wall suggests all levels of government will be encouraging investment for employment uses around the Western Sydney Airport including at Kemps Creek, Silverdale, Bringelly and Greendale.

If you have interests in the commercial sector you’ll want to be looking closely at the specialist centres of Norwest, Macquarie Park, Kogarah, the Bankstown Airport, Sydney Olympic Park and the Bays Precinct. All of which have been identified to accommodate the growth of 25,000 or more new jobs by 2036, with a specific focus on providing for the growth of the financial, business and technology sectors.

Macquarie Park - Sydney's Leading Business Park (Source: JLL)

Macquarie Park – Sydney’s Leading Business Park (Source: JLL)

The District Plans put employment growth front and centre as a key outcome of government spending on infrastructure, in particular the Western Sydney Airport and its broader surrounds. Given that there is also a focus on having jobs closer to where people live (especially Western Sydney), the plans point to a continued push by government to focus investment around making strategic centres throughout Sydney attractive for business to locate and thrive.

Key Points for Businesses:

  • The GSC has emphasised the importance of growing businesses, big and small – across all sectors to support the projected population growth across Sydney over the next 20 years;
  • The Western Sydney Aerotropolis at Badgery’s Creek captures the airport and its surrounding lands which have been identified as part of the new Western City. Investment opportunities in the employment sectors (i.e. industrial, technological, logistic, scientific and innovative industries)  around the Aerotropolis will be significant and will likely encourage the further decentralisation of business parks;
  • The specialist centres of Wetherill Park, Norwest, Macquarie Park, Kogarah, Bankstown Airport, Sydney Olympic Park and the Bays Precinct have all been identified for future growth to accommodate new commercial floor space, retail trade and ‘smart industries’;
  • The key underlying message from the GSC is that the continued growth of the economy of Sydney is not underpinned solely by the booming construction sector, but also lies in the sustained and continued growth of businesses.

Conclusion

The District Plans provide a solid foundation for property owners and businesses to understand how the NSW Government is planning for Sydney to grow and evolve over the next 20 years and beyond. An insight into these plans will give both property owners and businesses a valuable edge when making strategic investment decisions on how to position themselves to make the most of change and growth across Sydney.

In the third and final part of our series on Sydney’s Draft District Plans, we will focus on the implications of the plans on the development sector including property developers and all of those involved in financing, real estate and property consulting and advisory.

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