Melbourne is tipped to become Australia’s most populous city, outnumbering those going to Sydney by more than 10.5 thousand people per year.
According to 2016 Census data, almost 2,000 people are arriving in Melbourne every single week, while Sydney is getting about 200 fewer people per week.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) has since raised the question: Can Melbourne accommodate all these people and remain a liveable city?UDIA Victoria CEO Danni Addison said yes, if Victorian policy-makers make housing and infrastructure the centre of their policy focus.
“It sounds very simple, but to maintain liveability we need more housing and more infrastructure, which will support our newest communities and accommodate people from all walks of life," she said.
“The Census confirms Melburnians are struggling with housing affordability, with renters paying about $780 more on rent per year than the national average.
“There’s also been a rapid increase in group households – that is homes with two or more unrelated people over the age of 15 – indicating that people are changing the way they live to counter affordability constraints.”
Since last year when the census data was collected, the building approval boom has come off its record peak, especially in regards to the Melbourne apartment market.
“That’s not to say that housing affordability issues magically disappear once you’ve purchased a home," Ms Addison said.
"The number of Victorian households classed as living in housing stress – that is paying more than 30 percent of their incomes on a mortgage – is above the national average.”
The ACT experienced a larger rate of population growth (11.44%) than Victoria (10.69%).
“To ensure we remain competitive on a national scale, Victoria must invest more money on key infrastructure items like roads and public transport which will unlock opportunities for our growth areas,” Ms Addison said.
“The census reinforces the need for long term policy that’s focused on affordability and housing a rapidly increasing population.
"It’s important for our industry and our policy-makers to work together and use the census data to effectively guide our future.”