Dubbo's status as a modern and growing regional city is being threatened by the absence of sufficient and new villa apartments, townhouses and units, suggest real estate agents.
The Real Estate Institute of NSW-Orana Division wants to work with Dubbo Regional Council to "provide more choice in housing types" for the benefit of an "ageing population, downsizers and those requiring residential accommodation without large grounds".
New sales data and a predicted influx of workers to the city has spurred on the division in making a submission to the council asking it to address the city's shortage of medium-density housing.
Chairman Adam Wells has welcomed subsequent contact from the council which the division reports is the "entity in Dubbo which can instigate and activate change within the residential housing sector".
"If we don't start formulating a plan... there is the potential for people to choose to invest in other regional centres or for people downsizing to go somewhere else," he said.
Data provided to council in the submission shows Dubbo lagging behind in unit sales, reflecting a shortage in the city.
In the rolling year to March 2019, 38 units were sold in Dubbo.
In the same period, there were 206 units sold at Albury, 111 at Orange, 89 at Tamworth, 65 at Bathurst, 58 at Wagga Wagga and 33 at Mudgee, which has less than a fifth of the population of Dubbo.
"The figure of 38 sales is the lowest in any 12-month period we recall since 1987 when sales volumes and prices were first published," Mr Wells said in the submission.
"The low supply of units does not reflect a modern growing city which should offer a selection of housing types."
The division reports that in the rolling year to May 2019, the median house price in Dubbo rose by 4.9 per cent while the median unit price fell by 10.17 per cent.
In 1998 the then Dubbo City Council changed zoning to allow for low-density housing only.
In 2011 the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) was altered to permit medium-density housing in some parts of the city.
"Up to 2011 when the LEP changed...the last block of flats built for rental purposes was in 1994," Mr Wells said.
The chairman said in the past five to 10 years there had been less than a handful of medium-density projects delivered in central and north Dubbo.
The division reports of a decline in the number of developers of medium-density dwellings because of the 13-year ban.
In an address to the council in late June Mr Wells has welcomed the approval of three medium-density developments in the central business district.
"However, these are but one type of unit living and expansion of choice is essential, particularly the one-level villa apartments providing for the ageing population and retirees," he said.
Mr Wells said when people could not downsize they stayed put in their homes which caused a "blockage" in the housing pipeline affecting "affordability and rents".