Affordable housing

Affordable housing

Shelter for all

Affordable housing is a basic requirement and essential component of an inclusive, dynamic and sustainable city. Affordable housing refers to 'reasonable' housing costs in relation to income. A common benchmark is that affordable housing is housing that does not absorb more than 30% of a very low, low or moderate household's income.

The City of Sydney is committed to working with other governments to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the local area.

Short and long-term homelessness, combined with affordable housing shortages, are serious issues for central Sydney and its surrounding areas. Local governments must advocate to state and federal governments to act on affordable housing shortages and help facilitate planning permissions to make way for different types of housing.

Target for 2030

Sustainable Sydney 2030 establishes an ambitious target that by 2030, 7.5% of all housing in the local area will be social housing provided by government and community providers and 7.5% will be affordable housing delivered by not-for-profit or other providers.

Affordable rental housing strategy

The City has adopted an affordable rental housing strategy that was put together with the help of private and not-for-profit organisations.

The key objectives of the strategy are to:

  • increase the amount of affordable rental housing in the local area for very low, low and moderate income households
  • protect existing stock of low cost rental accommodation (such as boarding houses)
  • encourage a diverse range of housing in the local area
  • work with other inner Sydney councils to address affordable rental housing at a regional level.

The strategy identifies the need to increase the supply of affordable rental housing stock by nearly 8,000 by 2030.

What the City is doing

The City’s affordable housing levy program in Green Square has seen more than 100 affordable rental housing units built. The program target is 330 affordable rental housing units in this area. A similar program in Ultimo and Pyrmont has seen more than 450 affordable rental housing units built and the program target is 600 units.

Planning control changes have been facilitated by the City to enable affordable rental housing development. The Harold Park urban renewal will see land set aside that will support around 76 new affordable housing dwellings. The Glebe Affordable Housing Project (Housing NSW) will see 20 new social housing dwellings and 90 new affordable housing dwellings built.

The City has sold property in Zetland to allow for over 100 new affordable rental housing apartments to be built. We are constantly reviewing our properties for appropriate affordable rental housing opportunities.

In October 2015 the Salvation Army was awarded a $250,000 cultural and community grant from the City to help it build more than 160 new homes in central Sydney for low income workers and people needing crisis accommodation. The development is proposed to be more than 25m high requiring the project to be part of a competitive design excellence process. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Overall, by June 2015 there were 753 affordable rental housing dwellings in the city, with more than 500 further dwellings in the development pipeline.

Research has been undertaken with neighbouring councils looking at economic and planning barriers to affordable rental housing in inner Sydney.

Applying for affordable housing

Housing NSW provides information about renting and applying for affordable housing including contact details for community housing providers.


Ben Pechey
Manager Planning Policy
02 9265 9333


NSW Planning and Infrastructure: Affordable rental housingHousing NSW: For renters of affordable housing

Last updated: Friday, 20 November 2015