Land banks a threat to costs
LARGE developers control so much land earmarked for housing development in south-east Queensland they could "drive prices through the roof", the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) claimed. With the City of Ipswich containing almost one-third of the urban residential land available for housing development in the region, such action could seriously affect housing affordability. Although there is enough land available to meet development needs under the South East Queensland Regional Plan, land banking by the larger developers could affect future development, according to an LGAQ report into land supply and demand. "The larger development companies have embarked on a concerted campaign of land-banking across south-east Queensland," the report said. "Rather than government policy driving the release policies of land in SEQ, the market strategies of the larger companies have the potential to significantly impact on land supply." Another possible consequence of land banking by large developers could be small and medium sized developers seeking to vary the regional plan as they run out of land stock, the LGAQ report said. Of 24,400 hectares considered available for urban housing, Ipswich contains 7700 hectares, enough for 92,400 homes. A further 1550 hectares in the city have been identified as available for low density residential development. Ipswich has around 50,000 homes now and another 42,000 will be built by 2016, according to projections. A further 35,000 homes will be constructed between 2016 and 2026, bringing the total to 123,000. Planning, development and environment committee chairman Paul Tully said while there was no evidence of land-banking in parts of Ipswich due for development soon, large developers had acquired significant tracts in Ripley and the Walloon/Thagoona area. "There are no easy answers to the problem unless the Queensland government becomes a land developer, as the New South Wales government does," Cr Tully said.