Renewing ageing housing
Much of Australia’s ageing housing stock is not fit for cold winters or hot summers. Image – Canva
  • Much of Australia's ageing housing stock is not fit for cold winters or hot summers
  • 8M pre-energy rated homes are contributing 18% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions
  • New social and affordable housing can fill the gap, says a new report

The renewal of Australia’s ageing housing stock will offer a multitude of benefits that will supercharge the emissions reduction and boost the economy through an uncertain period ahead, according to a new report. 

Released by PowerHousing Australia, in partnership with CoreLogic, the Australian Affordable Housing E-scan report led to the call for large-scale, nationwide housing renewal programs to be the cornerstone of the next phase of Covid economic recovery and fulfill federal emission targets.

PowerHousing Australia CEO Nicholas Proud said “the twin climate and COVID-19 crises have reinforced the unsuitability of Australia’s 30-year-old+ housing stock on lower income families and younger Australians, who are disproportionately living in lower energy rated homes that impact financially and unnerves well-being.

“Countless Australians are only too well aware after months in lockdown that average dwellings are cold in winter, hot in summer and prohibitively expensive to cool and heat. Add to this these homes are not designed for universal lifelong living, whether that’s accessibility for prams, ageing in place, or living with disabilities.”

PowerHousing Australia CEO Nicholas Proud

Where there’s an existing ‘old-standard’ home, there could be up to three new highly energy efficient, accessible, and well-located dwellings which would help meet the demand for more social and affordable housing, said Mr Proud. 

The report found the pressing need to increase the construction industry pipeline once the current phase of government stimulus activity points to the future demand gap once expatriates can return to Australia and migration recommences.

PowerHousing Australia believes in the construction pipeline and tackle the lack of affordable housing particularly in regional Australia. 

Corelogic head of research Tim Lawless said “the housing boom has hit areas that have normally been spared the most extreme price rises, namely regional areas.

“For many Australians, including the rising number of renters, their prospects for safe, stable and quality housing are diminishing.”

“Transforming older homes into purpose-built, adaptable housing has significant environmental benefits,” states the report. Image – Canva

Environmental and social

Australia’s 8 million pre-energy rated homes are contributing up to 18% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the 2018 Council of Australian Governments.

Mr Proud said “(the homes) are also a liability when it comes to hitting our Paris Agreement  commitments for net-zero emissions.

“The National Net Zero Emission plans forecasts that by 2050, around 7 million homes will not be subject to improved energy efficiency measures in the National Construction Code with no retrofitted improvements to improve the fabric of these homes.”

According to the report, these homes often sit on larger 800-1000sqm lots, and are close to commuter routes and jobs.

PowerHousing Australia calls for market acceptance to knock down and rebuild to better utilise these lots.

The report states Australia needs to look to renew ageing housing stock to improve liveability, density, energy-efficiency and accessibility, and plan activity in the construction sector to keep economic recovery going.

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