The NSW government has announced sweeping changes to planning rules to fast-track higher-density housing across Sydney, the Lower Hunter and Illawarra.
The government says it will amend state planning policies to override council limits on what type of dwellings can be built in low-density and medium-density zones.
Among the changes are allowing terraces, townhouses and two-storey apartment blocks near "transport hubs" in low-density residential zones across the Greater Sydney area, including greater Newcastle.
The new rules will permit "mid-rise" apartment blocks up to six storeys in medium-density zones and employment zones within 800 metres of public transport centres.
The changes will include Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Cessnock and Port Stephens council areas, all of which form part of the planning department's Greater Sydney "six cities" region.
The latter two do not have major transport hubs, but the new rules could mean the other three councils will start approving higher-density housing close to train stations.
Planning Minister Paul Scully said the changes were aimed at confronting housing shortages by creating tens of thousands of new "well located low- and mid-rise homes".
"We're confronting a housing crisis, so we need to change the way we plan for more housing," he said
"We can't keep building out. We need to create capacity for more infill, with more diverse types of homes."
The government estimates the reforms will allow developers to build up to 112,000 new dwellings, or 30 per cent of NSW's target of 377,000 by 2029 under the National Housing Accord.
Former Property Council of Australia Hunter chair Neil Petherbridge said at an industry lunch this month that the government had "no chance" of meeting its targets because of planning delays and a shortage of builders willing and able to take on apartment projects.
The government said last month that it had identified that two out of 32 local government areas across Sydney allowed two-storey unit blocks in R2 low-density residential zones.
It also found 60 per cent of councils across Sydney did not allow residential flat buildings in medium-density zones.
The government will amend a State Environmental Planning Policy to enact the changes while encouraging councils to add the dwelling types to their planning rules.
The proposal will go on public exhibition next week.
The Minns government also announced this month that it would develop pre-approved "pattern book" designs for small apartment buildings to fast-track approvals.
Mr Scully said more diverse housing allowed people to "stay in their communities and neighbourhoods through different stages of their life, with family and friends able to live nearby".
"More housing choice means more options for everyone: renters, families, empty-nesters," he said.
"Density done well means townhouses, apartments and terraces clustered near shops, high streets and parks.
"We already have great examples of these types of homes.
"Sydney has grown using these housing types. Look at homes in Wollstonecraft, Waverton, Erskineville, parts of Wollongong or Newcastle.
"They're great places to live. We just need more of them."
National Seniors Australia published new research on Monday which showed housing affordability plagued 65 per cent of respondents aged 50 and older.
Renters were nine times more likely than others to be "quite concerned" or "acutely concerned" about their ability to afford housing while mortgagees were four times more likely.
Many wanted easier and more affordable pathways to buying a house or more secure, affordable, long-term rental options.