Median household incomes in the Northern Rivers are well below the NSW average, yet housing costs in many locations within the region are as high as those in the rest of State, resulting in high levels of housing stress for many households in the region.
The key cause of decreasing affordability is that housing supply does not meet demand and is exacerbated by high population growth and reducing household size.
Affordability is also affected by the type of housing stock available.
Almost three-quarters (74.5%) of the region’s housing stock is separate dwellings as opposed to smaller attached houses and apartments (ABS 2012). As a consequence, many smaller households currently reside in housing designed for larger ones.
A further feature of housing stock in the region is the high incidence of dwellings in the coastal areas that do not fit specific housing types and are classified by ABS as ‘other’. These dwellings include mobile homes, caravans, houseboats and tents. The Northern Rivers has 3.8% of housing stock classified in this way compared to 0.9% for the State as a whole.