Granny flats are being touted as part of the solution to Australia’s rental crisis, but one renter’s advocacy called them a “compromise”, saying they were “a band aid on a bullet wound”.
A report released today by property data companies Archistar, Blackfort and CoreLogic said that granny flats were the “greatest opportunities for development”, with more than half-a-million homes currently sitting on unrealised potential.
“Across Australia’s three largest capital cities there is the capacity to introduce 655,792 self-contained two-bedroom units as an addition to existing dwellings, providing an immediate opportunity to address the severe shortage of housing in these cities.
“Of these sites, more than a third are within 2km of a train or light rail station and 17 per cent have a hospital within the suburb boundary, demonstrating a combination of accessibility and a solid example of the opportunity to fast-track housing options for essential workers in the health care sector.”
But speaking to PEDESTRIAN, Renting and Housing Union (RAHU) spokesperson J. R. Hewitt said granny flats just don’t meet to the needs of the market.
“It’s a compromise as it’s an extension to someone’s property rather than someone’s home. Nobody wants to be living with their landlord and, as the name suggests, it’s something an older family member, or perhaps teenager, would move into,” he said.
“I see them as a better alternative to homelessness, but it’s a bandaid on a bullet wound.”
The authors of the report argued that the introduction of half-a-million plus granny flats could increase rental supply and lower, or at least steady, all of our skyrocketing rents. And it’s clear that action has never been more urgent – even the report notes that “the past few years [have] seen rental vacancy rates plummet to record lows, pushing rents higher at the fastest pace on record.”
But Hewitt dismissed the granny flats idea, and high-rises too, instead pointing to suburban development as the key.
“The rental market is catastrophic – we need to build approximately 300,000 homes by 2040 in Victoria alone, and one million across the entire country by 2040,” he said.
“We need more mixed-use construction and we need to rebuild existing suburbs starting of course where trains currently are or where we want them to be.”