Centre for Affordable Housing

Housing Market Snapshot - New England North West Region

The Housing Story in New England North West

The New England North West is comprised of the thirteen local government areas of Armidale Dumaresq, Glen Innes Severn, Gunnedah, Guyra, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha, with a population of 182,600 at the 2011 Census. The Department of Planning and Environment forecast the population will grow to 197,100 at 2031. Who lives here now, who will live here in the future and what sort of housing do they need? Is there a good match between who lives here and the housing stock available?

What’s the Housing Demand?

The total population increased in eight of the LGAs in the region (Tamworth Regional, Gunnedah, Inverell, Uralla, Tenterfield, Guyra, Liverpool Plains and Armidale Dumaresq) and declined in the remaining five (Moree Plains, Gwydir, Walcha, Narrabri and Glen Innes Severn) between 2006 and 2011.

The median age of the population in each of the thirteen New England North West region LGAs has increased from 2001 to 2011. Five LGAs have a lower median age than the average for the Rest of NSW, while six have a higher median and two are right on average. The DPE forecast a strong increase in residents aged over 65 in this region.

There has been a decline in the proportion of couple families with children in every LGA in New England North West between 2001 and 2011. This is in line with the trend for the Rest of NSW (excluding Sydney) but the decline was much stronger in every LGA in this region than for the Rest of NSW. The proportion of lone person households increased (as in the Rest of NSW) in all but three of the LGAs in the region (Gunnedah, Narrabri and Uralla). Overall, lone person and couple households combined comprise between 48.1% (Moree Plains) and 61.6% (Gwydir) of all households. Couples are the largest household type in eight LGAs in this region and lone person households in nine.

In every New England North West LGA low income households comprise the largest proportion of all households. The majority of LGAs in the region experienced an increase in low income households between 2006 and 2011. Five LGAs (Guyra, Tamworth Regional, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell and Tenterfield) had a higher proportional increase in low income households than the Rest of NSW average of 3.8%. Armidale Dumaresq and Gunnedah had an increase in moderate income households, against the trend in the Rest of NSW (where there has been a decline in this group), and in Gunnedah, Walcha and Narrabri there was an increase in high income households (higher than the increase in the Rest of NSW). Every LGA except for Gunnedah, Narrabri and Walcha had an increase in low income rental households. It is important that housing supply price points show a reasonable match with household tenure and income levels. The increase in low income rental households points to a growing demand for affordable housing.

What’s Happening in the Market?

Median rents and median sales prices in the New England North West LGAs have increased strongly since 1990. Rental increases in this region have been particularly strong in Narrabri, have been generally strong in the regional centres and the level of increase across the region is similar to that experienced in the Hunter, Central West Orana and North Coast regions. The proportion of affordable rental and purchase for very low and low income households has declined in every New England North West region LGA between 2001 and 2014. All the LGAs in this region experienced a reduction in affordable private rental between 2006 and 2013, with the exception of Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha.

Moree Plains had the highest proportion of private rental in the region with 30.1%, closely followed by Armidale Dumaresq with 29.6%, well above the Rest of NSW average of 23.0%. Eight of the thirteen LGAs in this region have a higher proportion of private rental than the Rest of NSW average, with only Glen Innes Severn, Guyra, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha having a smaller proportion. Generally, the regional centres have more rental housing, which is important given their role in providing housing choice. 

What’s Happening with Supply – and is it a good match?

What sort of housing is in the New England North West? At the 2011 Census, the number of dwellings in the New England North West was 75,698. The vast majority of dwellings in the New England North West are separate houses, comprising between 82.4% of all dwellings in Guyra and 73.0% in Moree Plains – with every LGA in the region having a higher proportion of separate houses than the average of 72.2% across the Rest of NSW. The overwhelming majority of homes have three, four or more bedrooms, ranging between 87.5% in Walcha to 81.7% in Moree Plains. Between 2001 and 2011 there has been a significant increase in four or more bedroom dwellings across the region, but overall losses in every other bedroom type, except for a small increase in one bedroom dwellings.

Armidale Dumaresq, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Tamworth Regional in particular have a number of indicators showing the need for more affordable housing provision. Across the region the high and increasing numbers of low income households and low income rental households, the strong increases in median rental levels, decline in rental affordability for lower income earners, loss of affordable rental properties and high proportion of very low income households in rental stress, indicates that there is a strong argument for increasing the supply of affordable housing. Gunnedah and Narrabri have a higher proportion employed in the mining sector than the Rest of NSW and have experienced an influx of more highly paid mine workers. In Armidale Dumaresq, the influence of the university on employment and housing demand is significant.

There is a poor match between household type and bedroom numbers across the New England North West. This is likely to worsen as a strong increase in lone person households is forecast for the region. Encouraging more secondary dwellings and new generation boarding houses would assist in providing more housing choice to meet need.

For more information on Housing Demand, the Market, Supply and the Gap, see the Related Information box above right.

Comparative Stats

  • Number of rental households at 2011: 17,573
  • Number of low income rental households at 2011: 7,353
  • Number of Low Income Renters in Housing Stress at 2011: 4,599
  • Number of Affordable Rental Properties Lost (2006 – 2013): 1,378
  • Number of Affordable Rental Properties 2013 2,604
  • Number of Homeless at 2011: 607 

Key Regional Stats

  • Number of lone person households: 18,237
  • Number of couple only households: 19,281
  • Number of studio dwellings: 86
  • Number of one bedroom dwellings: 601
  • Increase in four bedroom dwellings between 2001 and 2011: 3,531
  • Loss of studio, one, two and three bedroom dwellings between 2001 and 2011: 1,374
Comparison Household Type with Bedroom