The biggest apartment boom in Australia's history: CommBank

The biggest apartment boom in Australia's history: CommBank
The biggest apartment boom in Australia's history: CommBank

Australia is experiencing the biggest apartment development boom in its history — with an estimated 80,000 apartments under construction in our major capital cities.

There's another 117,000 approved or in the off-the-plan marketing phase, according to a recent CommBank Property Insights report.

The highest concentration of apartment completions in absolute terms, in the next two years, will be Brisbane and inner Melbourne, where as a result, owner occupiers and investors have been warned of the prospect of rising vacancy rates, reduced rental income and possible falls in property values. 

The broader geographic spread of Sydney completions across a large number of suburbs, together with a greater depth to the market, was likely to mitigate these risks, according to Kevin Stanley, head of property strategy and research at the bank.

He says Sydney stands out nationally as a city with the most even distribution of apartment developments across the metropolitan area, which will help boost their occupation. He stressed the importance of access to amenities and transport. He says Sydney's 550 new proposals will typically have 160 apartments.

His list of top suburbs for nearing completions of apartments has Mascot heading NSW with around 1400 completions likely during 2016. Next busiest was Burwood at 650; Wenworth Point with 530 and Burwood scheduled for 500 new flats. 

He also did the same for 2017 which sees an anticipated 2100 unit completions in the Sydney CBD and 1500 in Parramatta.

Stanley noted while metropolitan Sydney accounts for 38 percent of Australia’s expected population growth by 2017, the city has just 33 percent of the apartments proposed or under construction nationally.

Our higher land prices and more restrictive planning laws are impediments to the apartment development sector, and look like continuing Sydney's undersupply of housing.

"This situation is also pushing upward pressure on pricing," he concludes.

Unlike Melbourne at 25 per cent, the Sydney CBD accounts for just seven per cent of the pending Sydney metropolitan total.

Sydney's largest sub-region for future apartments is the most distant from the city — with Western Sydney constituting around 23 per cent of forward supply including Liverpool and Carlingford. 

Ofcourse the analysis anticipates supply is likely to adjust to a more sustainable level should events dictate.

Some projects may not get approval, other's wont get bank finance and some developers will delay their projects depending on where they see the property cycle.

I recall Hegney Property Group chairman Gavin Hegney saying apartments are always in over-supply or under-supply because of the "lumpy nature" of the market.

While a housing estate can release or hold back land allotments in stages, you can’t do that with an apartment tower, he noted.

As more Sydneysiders embrace apartment living, I'd suggest the CommBank report ought be the backdrop to your own solid research around the markets of interest to ensure your decisions whether buying or selling, now or later, comes with data, local insights and your own personal aspirations.

This article was first published in the Saturday Daily Telegraph. 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Residential Market Apartment Construction


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