Western Sydney is among regions set to benefit substantially from the Albanese government’s recently announced $2 billion social housing scheme according to industry observers and local commercial property stakeholders. States and territories will receive payments from The Social Housing Accelerator program within a few weeks, a move that will see the creation of around 9000 new homes to boost supply for those on social housing waiting lists. NSW is to be granted $610 million for both the construction of new stock and upgrading of existing properties, while Victoria receives $496 million and Queensland $398 million. The federal funds can be used for new builds and expanding existing programs as well as renovating and refurbishing existing yet uninhabitable homes.
Ray White Commercial Western Sydney managing director Peter Vines said existing apartment blocks in need of refurbishment were among properties with greatest potential for developers at present. “There will be significant demand for these as they bring with them the opportunity for capital growth as well,” Mr Vines said. “It’s far less expensive to renovate an existing apartment building than build a new one. Boarding houses also present a lot of potential right now.”
Economic conditions were also resulting in unfinished projects coming to market such as the near-complete apartment block at 14 Butler Road Hurstville. Set for on-site auction through Ray White Commercial on July 27, Mr Vines said it was an ideal opportunity for a developer and/or investor, being a 10-storey mixed-use property 90m from Hurstville Station designed both with the housing crisis in mind as well as the provision of a range of conveniences for the local community. The building comprised ground floor commercial spaces plus eight full-floor residential units above, including a split-level penthouse-style dwelling with rooftop terrace.
Development sites near major infrastructure were also clearly ideal opportunities Mr Vines said. “I like Parramatta because of the transport links,” he said. “The Metro when complete will see vast increases in the numbers of people through the Parramatta CBD and region in general. Sydney Olympic Park I also view as undervalued and, like Parramatta, when the Metro reaches this area, it will be equally fantastic for the surrounding businesses and development.”
Centres for growth
Other hotbeds of activity in Western Sydney included the regions surround the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport, due to open in 2026, the Bradfield City Centre, a 114-hectare site adjoining the airport, and the $5 billion Sydney Science Park north of the airport. A $90 million office project is underway in Penrith’s central Belmore Street of which the Western Sydney Parkland Authority will be the major tenant. The Bradfield City Centre’s first building is currently taking shape – a 3840 square metre tower housing office, exhibition and event space that will include a collaborative research centre for Hitachi and the first of its manufacturing research facilities.
The Oran Park community south of the airport is the site of a relatively new 10,000 square metre office building and another is scheduled for the Oran Park Town Centre. One of the largest projects of recent times in Western Sydney after Parramatta has been the Norwest office precinct in the Hills District. In the past three decades this region has mushroomed into a 500,000 square metre workplace precinct complete with retail, hospitality, and other lifestyle amenities.
Mr Vines said any investor or developer looking at creating a “decent high-quality product [in Western Sydney] can’t go wrong”. “Anywhere near major population growth whether there are jobs and housing are perfect for investment and development,” Mr Vines said. “This is especially true for those looking at attractive high-quality retail.”
Another centrally located and scalable development site still on the market is The Henry Lawson Centre at 61-79 Henry Street. For sale with Colliers, the 16,00 square-metre plus site comes with a planning proposal for residential accommodation, a mix of established tenancies and sits in a location near transport, healthcare and job centres. A Voluntary Planning Agreement has been undertaken to amend controls that would allow construction of a hotel tower with a residential component with the commercial and retail premises below.