Area News editorial - 12/1/18: Is there a future for a new residential hub at Whitton?

The state of play for housing in MIA suggests Leeton Shire Council’s bid to make Whitton a new and bubbling residential hub may just be the ticket to reverse an expensive housing trend around the region.

Griffith property and rental prices continue to rise, as the city continues to suffer from a serious lack of housing (one per cent vacancy rate on rentals).

Leeton is also at crisis point with just 19 homes (.5 per cent) available for rent.

It’s an issue widely reported in metro areas, with the Sydney and Melbourne residential market leaving many paying overs for substandard housing.

Roanna Rosetta from Anglicare said the lack of affordable rentals was cause for major concern, but reiterated what we all know and hear – rental affordability is a complex issue.

She says the issue needs to be addressed in a variety of ways, including improving conditions for renters so they have greater security and addressing the low level of welfare payments for families struggling on low incomes.

The obvious solution within the MIA and in and around the region’s major centres is opening up more land for residential builds.

That’s exactly what Leeton Shire Council has done with its newly announced residential plots at Whitton, the new and convenient ‘epicentre of the MIA’.

It could potentially become a residential hub, offering cheaper housing and amenities within just 20 minutes of Griffith, Leeton and Darlington Point.

The Conapaira Street land has been endorsed by Council for “continued planning and design of a residential subdivision”. 

The council-owned plots will be available as a place to buy and build at a much cheaper price than in Leeton or Griffith. 

It’s not out of the question to suggest the opportunities will potentially drag people away from Leeton and Griffith towards a much more financially viable and opportunistic area.

Not forgetting Whitton is home to a school, pub, and, perhaps most impressively, an outdoor pool.

Leeton Council’s move to alleviate pressure on its housing market could potentially be doing a favour for its nearby neighbor at Griffith, also in the thick of a rental crisis.

Let’s hope it’s a step in the right direction, halting developing artificial inflation, and curtailing demand’s influence in exclusively dictating rental and land pricing.