Housing is in short supply in Launceston, and a review of the city's land supply shows the issue is likely to worsen unless drastic action is taken.
A study commissioned by the City of Launceston council shows as of March 2023, there was enough land for 1400 dwellings zoned as residential and ready to be developed.
This is 700 less than the bare-minimum 2100 required to cater for anticipated population growth until 2036, and about 2000 less than the estimated 3430 needed when a rolling reserve is taken into account.
The study, authored by planning consultant Dr Jeff Wolinski, only considered vacant land supply and not the availability of established houses.
That is subject to other constraints, like persistently low rental vacancy rates and short stay accommodation resulting in properties being removed from the long-term rental market.
The latter of these was investigated by the council, and the report found the short-term accommodation, long-term rental and private dwelling markets had grown in step with one another since 2019.
That report also found there was increased demand being placed on the housing market in general as occupancy rates tended towards one or two person households.
The solution according to Dr Wolinski is to push through approvals allowing 2950 dwellings - 1620 single dwellings and 1330 multi-unit dwellings - built at greenfield development sites and a further 480 residences built as infill.
Historically, growth has been concentrated around Newstead, Kings Meadows and Youngtown however Dr Wolinski anticipated the available land running out in these areas within five years.
Instead, greenfield development should be focused on areas like South Prospect, which would provide enough space for 1600 homes and Alanvale, which would allow about 450 dwellings.
The former of these was particularly crucial according to Dr Wolinski, who said South Prospect would be "indispensable".
"It will provide approximately 37 per cent of all new housing in the city and will be the leading district in the city for residential development," he said.
"The question may well be asked how the projected housing needs of over 3,000 dwellings in the next 14 years will be met in the absence of the South Prospect project?"
Dr Wolinski said assessment and approvals processes for these developments should be prioritised by the council.
The land at 126-128 Russells Plains Road, Rocherlea could also be used for housing rather than landfill, something advocated by councillors at a September meeting.
Council officers found that even when the required buffer zones near the landfill site at Remount Road are considered, there is up to 1100 hectares of land in and around the site which could be used for residential land.
Other areas where land supply could be unlocked included the Cedar Grove and Green Estate developments, which would provide a further 725 lots between them.
Dr Wolinski said these were being held up by infrastructure issues and urged the council to take a "coordinating role" to allow the development to proceed.
A further 1000 lots could also be created when the St Leonards master plan is complete.
Infill development, which increases density by building on non-vacant land, would bring significant benefits to the city through efficient use of infrastructure and providing housing diversity according to Dr Wolinski.
He said despite these benefits, most new housing had to be provided through vacant land and advocated the council devise a "multi-faceted program" to increase infill development rates.
"The role of infill housing needs to be progressively expanded over time to form a significant component of new housing development," Dr Wolinski said.