Promises are cheap

THE State Government's approval of the first stage of the massive Caloundra South development has killed off commitments it made late last year to deliver affordable housing in quantity to median income earners.

Promises by then Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and included in the interim land use plan for Caloundra South committed to delivering 30% of all properties to market at a price affordable for rent or purchase by households on median household incomes (around $50,000) and 5% to those on 80% of that amount.

If applied to Bellvista stage two, which was approved last Thursday, the formula would have required more than 200 of the estate's 700 plus homes to be priced at around or below $300,000.

That will not happen. The Urban Land Development Authority confirmed yesterday that the goal posts have been shifted.

The new target for affordability includes households on incomes from $44,128 to $105,000 with the vast majority of price points affordable only to those at the upper end of that range

The Urban Land Development Authority acknowledged yesterday that a report commissioned by Urbis had found that no one on the median household income could afford a home in Bellvista, an estate to be crammed up hard against Caloundra airport.

The Urbis report found that only 5% of detached housing in the estate would be affordable to households on $60,000 incomes and only if they were "modest" in size.

At that income level, between 9% and 20% of properties may be affordable to rent.

Both the ULDA and the State Government define housing as affordable if the rent is less than 30% of gross household income or mortgage repayments are less than 35% of gross household income.

By that measure the Urbis report found buyers with $80,000 incomes would find somewhere between 9% and 20% of properties to be affordable to buy and anywhere between 20% and 89% would be affordable to rent.

For those on incomes of $95,000 anywhere between 20% and 88% would be affordable to purchase and between 88% and 100% to rent.

Premier Anna Bligh signalled in April a shift away from delivering affordability to those she had promised it when she took planning control for the estate and the rest of Caloundra South from Sunshine Coast Council. However, the full extent of the impact of that shift was only revealed yesterday.

Developer Stockland said this week that there would be "various housing sizes and styles at Bellvista II to appeal to a wide range of purchasers, including lots starting from $140,000".

A spokeman confirmed that price tag would be for 250 sq m blocks.

The square metre rate of $560 for that lot size remains considerably higher than for larger blocks in sought-after beachside communities.

"We'll be looking to provide a large number of house and land packages in the $350-$399,000 price band," the spokesman said.

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