Leaders representing the 22 councils of Western Queensland have released a first region-wide Housing Market Study on Tuesday ahead of a meeting with the state government on Wednesday.
The study covering 60% of the state, reveals the region's chronic shortage of housing - a major roadblock to community, employment and business growth that is set to worsen.
Carpentaria Mayor Jack Bawden and NWQROC Chair said the housing situation in the west has a far-reaching impact beyond the region's boundaries.
"The lack of growth in our region also constrains the growth potential of the State and Nation which relies on the productivity of regions such as Western Queensland to generate wealth for re-distribution," Cr Bawden said.
"If we're to keep up our contribution, something needs to change."
Longreach Mayor and RAPAD Chair Tony Rayner said sourcing affordable and suitable housing, finance and trades for renovations and works, was proving to be a major roadblock in a region that's ripe with potential.
"While there are still for sale signs in yards across the region, it's the quantity and quality of available housing that is not keeping pace with market demands and has existed for some time."
Cr Rayner said the study has identified the severity of the issue including a shortfall in housing across the region at 1,480 dwellings and council-supplied housing needs to increase by 296 dwellings, and 248 council-owned dwellings need major refurbishment.
The underinvestment in housing in the region is also significant. The per-capita level of investment into housing in Western Queensland is less than one fifth of Greater Brisbane.
That is, over the three years to June 2020 the average value of approved residential building work - whether new home building or renovation work - was a $320 per capita across the 22 LGAs that make up the WQAC region. In Greater Brisbane it was $2,675.
RAI Chief Economist Dr Kim Houghton said more people than ever before are looking at a life in regional Australia and providing the diversity of housing they're looking for presents an enormous opportunity for regional towns and cities.
"The RAI uncovered that half the demand for housing in Western Queensland is for townhouses and apartments which opens up the door for new investment opportunities for builders and developers," Dr Houghton said.
"In turning this housing challenge around, we look forward to continuing our work on the issue to provide all stakeholders, including government and private investors with options moving forward."
The WQAC Study began in late March 2021 and interviewed Council planning staff, real estate agents, builders, developers, and financiers (banks, mortgage brokers and valuers) to build a full picture of the sources of the market failure as well as provide insights into suitable solutions.
The WQAC will present the findings to state government officials on Wednesday.
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