The Illawarra needs to embrace new housing models to deliver affordability to the next generation, according to a leading development industry body.
The Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW says the changing demographics and rising housing pressures mean more residents are seeking out co-living arrangements, multi-generational living and adaptable homes.
UDIA NSW chief executive Mr Steve Mann said the Illawarra is clamouring for more housing options to cater for changing demographics in the region.
"We are seeing more inter-generational households emerging without the design, infrastructure or amenity to support them," he said.
"Affordability continues to challenge the Illawarra. Wollongong is currently the least affordable regional city in Australia.
"We need to embrace new housing typologies in order to deliver affordability to the next generation."
The UDIA recently hosted a luncheon in Wollongong.
Keynote speaker Jason Twill from Urban Apostles discussed the changing trends in housing, including the emerging 'build-to-rent' sector, and what this could mean for the Illawarra.
According to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, the build-to-rent model focuses on increasing the supply of rental housing through improving investment options and outcomes for institutional investors.
Therefore, developers and their financiers build multi-unit buildings and, instead of selling the units, retain them to rent to tenant households.
Rents may be set at market rents or, for affordable housing, an appropriate discount to market rents could be offered with government support to make up the funding gap.
UDIA NSW's Greater Western Sydney & Southern Region manager Keiran Thomas said there are many new housing models that the Illawarra will need to embrace as house prices continue to rise and households change.
"Jason Twill explored the build-to-rent model, which would require major change to the way we fund and deliver housing to be viable in Australia," he said.
"He and (fellow speaker) Anita Panov looked at the co-living models, which are re-imagining the traditional boarding house into adaptable, modular living units within large communal shared areas.
"John Brogden spoke about the new housing models that Landcom is exploring.
"They will deliver four pilot projects across NSW, showing that these new models of housing are commercially feasible and suit Australian home buyers."