Alpine Housing Project

There is not enough accommodation in the Alpine Shire for key workers.

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A high number of short term / holiday rentals across the Shire, coupled with increased demand to live in our region, is causing a critical shortage in housing availability.

This is being driven by a number of key factors, including an increase in new permanent residents to the Alpine Shire, which has reduced the number of available rental properties, along with an increase in the market price for housing, making the selling of investment properties more attractive than long-term renting. 

Limited land availability due to development constraints and finding the balance between short term and long-term accommodation is also creating housing availability pressure.

Communities are being impacted by this shortage, particularly for key workers in the hospitality, tourism, health and education sectors.

Holiday accommodation is essential to our local economy, but we’ve reached an imbalance where the prevalence of holiday accommodation is causing strain on our community and businesses.

The flow-on effect is impacting not only hospitality and accommodation businesses and their ability to meet visitor demands, but also schools, childcare centres, health and key service providers.

Council is addressing the issue of this critical housing availability shortage with a short term plan aimed at key workers, and a longer-term approach to strike a balance between short and long-term rental markets into the future and address other housing issues in the Shire.

The Alpine Housing Project aims to address the issue in the short-term.

 

What is a Key Worker?

A key worker is 'an employee who provides a vital service, especially in the essential services, health or education sectors'.

In the Alpine Shire, this includes:

  • Providers of services to residents - e.g. health care workers, teachers, doctors, nurses
  • Providers of services to visitors/tourists - e.g. hospitality, tourism, retail

The inclusion of workers in the visitor/tourism and local industries sector is appropriate because in regional areas these workers are essential to the economic sustainability of the region.

ABS statistics show that 2,913 workers, or 65% of all workers in the Alpine Shire, can be considered as ‘key workers’. 

 

What can I do to help?

Council is encouraging property owners to play a part in solving this problem. Register your details here and we will be in touch to discuss the project and how you might be able to help.

If you own a property that could be used as a long-term rental, we encourage you to consider placing it on the long-term rental market.  You might have a studio or unit on your property, or you may operate a short-term rental that would make a good family home and the income difference between short- and long-term rental might not be as big as you think. In addition, when you convert from short term to long term rental your Council rates could also reduce as you would pay a residential instead of a commercial rate.

We encourage you to approach Council to discuss placing your property into the long-term rental market to create a housing opportunity for someone in the community who can’t access housing now. 

Contact us on 5755 0555 or via email to housing@alpineshire.vic.gov.au for more information.

You will not only receive a regular income, but you will help to build a more inclusive community for us all to live in.

Council is working on a longer-term work program to provide housing solutions in the medium to long term. We are also partnering with other organisations in the community to create a more sustainable and inclusive housing market in the Alpine Shire in the future.

However, our community has an immediate need.  Every property that is made available now for long term rental helps individuals and families continue to live, work, and contribute to our community and the local economy.

 

Background information

Rental availability and cost

  • The Alpine Shire has had a consistently low amount of vacant properties available for long-term rent in the past five years. Currently there are very few properties available for rent.
  • Further to this, based on data received from two real estate agents currently operating in Bright, the number of properties available for long-term rent has been fairly consistent year-on-year, with a slight decrease in April 2021 (-6%) from the previous year.
  • There has been an upward trend in the cost of rent across the Alpine Shire. Townships have experienced increases from 14% to 37% over the past five years.

House price growth

  • Alpine Shire townships have experienced rapid increases in house prices, which significantly outpaced growth in Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria
  • Between 2014 and 2020, median house prices in Bright increased by 117% from $330,000 to $715,000. House price growth in Bright has been particularly rapid since 2019, with a 24% increase from 2019-2020
  • Over the same time period, median house prices in Alpine Shire increased by 45%, Metropolitan Melbourne by 38% and Regional Victoria by 40%

Housing affordability

  • Rental housing affordability for key workers has deteriorated over the past five years, particularly between 2020 and 2021.
  • To avoid housing stress, housing costs should not exceed the threshold of 30% of household income.
  • A comparison has been made between the average wages of key workers and the average rents in order to determine the affordability of the long-term rental market for key workers.
  • The increase in long-term rental prices has had a dramatic impact on housing affordability - the analysis showing that none of the key workers profiled would be able to afford the average rental dwelling in Bright without entering housing stress, with other townships keeping pace.

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