NSW housing approvals the lowest since 2013: Chris Johnson

NSW housing approvals the lowest since 2013: Chris Johnson
Chris JohnsonDecember 7, 2020


The Australian Bureau of Statistics data on housing approvals for September 2019 indicates that they are lower than in June 2013.

The continuing drop in dwelling approvals in New South Wales is a big worry for the housing industry and needs to be addressed by government urgently.

The September dwelling approvals were 3,670 which is a drop of 46 percent since the high point of 6,744 approvals in July 2016. We are now at the level of approvals of June 2013 when there were 3,777 new dwelling approvals.

NSW is now below Victoria’s home approvals, which has a smaller population, yet their September home approvals were 4,247 compared to the NSW approvals of 3,670.

The major drop in housing approvals has been in apartments where only 1,617 approvals occurred in September 2019, compared to 2,490 as recently as April 2019, and 3,882 two years ago in September 2017. This represents a 58 percent drop in higher density approvals over a two-year period.

We are aware of some developers having to lay off staff due to the downturn and this will flow on to the builders and their supply chain. The NSW Government must be concerned about the impact of the housing downturn on jobs.

The good news in the ABS data indicates a big jump in non-residential building approvals in September 2019 with $1,570,637,000 value of the approvals which is the highest amount ever in New South Wales.

The continuing drop in dwelling approvals in NSW must be reversed by government policy supporting a simpler planning system. The NSW Productivity Commission recently stated that planning approvals in NSW took twice as long as in other states. Clearly the slow and complex planning system must be streamlined to help support the supply of new housing for the state’s growing population.

The Urban Taskforce urges the NSW Government to develop a more streamlined process for housing supply particularly for large projects where local infrastructure can be funded by the project.

CHRIS JOHNSON is the CEO of Urban Taskforce

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