Housing Minister must act as approvals dropping fast: Chris Johnson

Housing Minister must act as approvals dropping fast: Chris Johnson
Housing Minister must act as approvals dropping fast: Chris Johnson

GUEST OBSERVER

The latest ABS housing approval data for NSW indicates a big drop over five months giving the new Housing Minister a big challenge.

The ABS trend data indicates that between July 2016 and December 2016 home approvals in NSW dropped by 24% and apartment approvals by 35 percent.

These figures will give the new Housing Minister, Anthony Roberts, a big challenge as he acquaints himself with his new portfolio.

The home approvals by trend for December 2016 were 4,950 compared to the July 2016 figure of 6,545. This is a drop of 1,595 or 24 percent over 5 months.

Most of the drop was with apartment approvals which dropped from 4,133 in July 2016 to 2,668 in December 2016. This is a drop of 1,465 or 35%.

The trend graphs illustrate a steady drop over the last 5 months. It will be important that the new NSW Housing and Planning Minister brings in some new policies and improvements to the planning system to reverse the current trend.

It would appear that the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) which began in February 2016 has not been able to influence housing approvals and that the confusion with local council amalgamations may have contributed to the slow down.

A number of Urban Taskforce members have reported difficulties in getting approvals from local councils and from the GSC’s planning panels even in areas where the state government has encouraged development.

The recent release of the District Plans by the GSC has added to uncertainty as they seem to restrict housing in a number of areas. The August rezoning review issued by the Government has also made it more difficult to submit planning proposals.

The big drop in housing approvals comes just as the new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has stated that housing supply is the key to housing affordability and appointed Anthony Roberts as Housing Minister to tackle the supply issue.

Minister Roberts is in an ideal position as both Housing and Planning Minister to take some strong action to ramp up housing supply in the state. He needs to look at the restrictive zoning in the District Plans that stops new housing in district and strategic centres and in out of date industrial areas in inner Sydney.

The Minister should also use the Greater Sydney Commission to fast track housing approvals for large projects over the value of $20 million. He should also look at setting up planning centres of excellence in each of the six Sydney districts to drive housing supply.

In the current boom economic times, Sydney should be completing 40,000 new homes a year but the highest number to date has only been 31,000.

The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with Minister Roberts to develop fast track processes to lift housing supply. We are also keen to outline a plan to complete 4,000 new affordable homes a year for Sydney.

See below New monthly private sector home approvals NSW graph based on ABS figures: 

Click to enlarge

Housing Minister must act as approvals dropping fast: Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson is chief executive officer of property development industry group Urban Taskforce and can be contacted here.

Tags: 
Dwelling Approvals Housing Minister

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