In major cities around the world, the total area of land being swallowed up to accommodate the ever-expanding populations crazing life urban centres is eating up tracts of farmland and threatening sustainability. To stop the sprawl, one solution is to build bigger satellite cities and increase opportunities for high-density living in these regional centres to help minimise the expansion of the centre’s footprint. For the councils governing these regional centres, the issue is about planning and looking at ways to stretch the rules around apartment and townhouse developments within what were once streets of detached homes with big backyards. But is regional living the answer Australians are looking for?
People’s capacity to afford the urban sprawl many major cities are engaged in is heavily linked to petrol prices and the existence of public transport infrastructure that can enable people to enjoy living in outer-suburban areas, while still commuting to city and inner-suburban employment opportunities. Urbanisation of regional centres may address this issue by offering people the change to access more affordable housing with less travel times – but only if that regional centre is rich with employment opportunities that allow people to live within it – for both work and play.
The Push To Promote Regional Living
In 2017, capital growth in regional New South Wale (7.4%) outstripped Sydney (3.1%). Statistics in other areas tell a similar story, with CoreLogic data revealing strong growth in regional Tasmania (up 5.5%) and an increase of 4% in regional Victoria across the 12 months to December 2017. Data for regional Queensland in the same period showed 1.3% growth.Infrastructure is critical to turning money-saving dreams of moving to smaller regional centres into a viable reality. Regions with improved road, rail or airport connections show the highest levels of population growth, above regional centres that are more isolated from employment and lifestyle opportunities.
Development With Vision
As technology continues to give us the ability to stay connected with the world, even from a home office in a country town, the lure of shifting focus to lifestyles in regional centres will continue to feature on the radar of home-buyers, investors and property developers across Australia. One thing is clear – and that is things are changing, and they have to. A well-researched vision for a realistic future is paramount and consultation with community and local councils is a huge part of forward-thinking that will help turn the future of Australian property development into previously uncharted terrain.