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Property Here - Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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Houses on blocks as small as 200sq m could be peppered across the Gold Coast as part of Mayor Tom Tate's dream for affordable housing. Source: News Limited

PINT-sized houses on blocks as small as 200sq m could be "peppered" across the Gold Coast as part of Mayor Tom Tate's dream for affordable housing.

Speaking at a Real Estate Institute of Queensland breakfast this month, Mr Tate told almost 200 industry members that affordable housing was an issue he had promised to review as first home buyers struggled to scrape together a deposit.

"Now to buy a house it's $500,000 you have to get a deposit for," Cr Tate said.

"I want to create $300,000 homes for our children ... so they can have the Australian dream."

Cr Tate's answer to obtaining the Australian dream was blocks as small as 200sq m.

"I don't want to create a slum but I do want to pepper them (cheaper homes on smaller lots) throughout the city," he said.

Cr Tate told the audience he was "all about future generations" and said that went beyond affordable housing to jobs and ensuring there were more on the Gold Coast.

While the Coast's median house price is $482,500 and units are $341,000, 19 suburbs in the region have median unit prices at $300,000 or less.

There are 10 suburbs with median house prices at $400,000 or less, according to RP Data. There are also 344 houses and 1103 units on the market under $300,000.

Cr Tate's call comes as the council considers whether to approve the controversial fourth stage of The Meadows Estate at Pimpama.

The original plans contained two and three-bedroom homes built on 100sq m blocks and two-storey houses on 140sq m of space.

Leda Developments acquisitions and project manager Richard Luce said new plans for the fourth stage had been lodged with the council and he was confident it would be approved within the next six to eight weeks.

He said the feedback to the project had been very positive.

"Now everyone seems to want them," he said.

"We do not have enough."

Cr Tate said the houses were not designed for families but for retirees or couples buying their first home.

"It's just like buying a unit with no body crop," he said.

REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman John Newlands said he thought 200sq m blocks were too small but agreed more affordable housing in central suburbs was called for.

"Maybe more 300sq m-400sq m is more viable," he said.

"We are running out of land in central parts of the Coast."

Mr Newlands said while Gold Coasters were "married" to the idea of big blocks, affordability would win out and potentially make small allotments more popular. He agreed that cheaper options were available in parts of the Coast, such as the northern corridor, but said many buyers did not want to live there.

"I think $300,000 is affordable, but people are pushed into areas they don't want to go (to find those prices)," he said.

Mr Newlands said for those buyers, the cost of travel to the city for work, such as petrol and parking, could outweigh cheaper housing.

He said city units and apartments, while cheaper, often had pricey body corporate fees.

"A way you could do this (create smaller blocks) is subdivide some of those 1000sq m blocks (in central suburbs)."

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