Home approval slump is driving the slowest economic growth since GFC: Chris Johnson

Home approval slump is driving the slowest economic growth since GFC: Chris Johnson
Home approval slump is driving the slowest economic growth since GFC: Chris Johnson

EXPERT OBSERVATION

The latest figures on Australia’s economic growth are the slowest since the GFC and the slump in housing approvals is driving this.

Australia’s low economic growth of 0.5% in the last quarter of the 2019 financial year leaves an annual rate of 1.4%, which is the slowest since 2009 following the Global Financial Crisis. 

A number of commentators have linked the slow growth to the big slump in home approvals across Australia but particularly in New South Wales.

The slowdown in the Australian economy has been influenced by a number of external global issues, but the supply of new homes across the country is clearly a local issue that the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments should be taking action to reverse.

In New South Wales, and particularly in Sydney, an anti-development sentiment has led to a big slow-down in housing approvals from councils and the NSW Government.

The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data for housing approvals shows a drop of 39% over the last two years in New South Wales.

The drop in housing approvals has been 20% over the last five months with confidence in the housing development industry dropping.

Some of the messaging from the NSW Government on key projects like the St Leonards South project and the Pyrmont Star hotel and apartment tower has been particularly negative with government bodies preferring the protection of the existing neighbourhood character rather than supporting new development.

There seems to be a cultural problem in Sydney where approval bodies, whether they be government, councils or planning panels, are preferring to reject projects for new housing rather than approve them.

Strong leadership is needed from the NSW Government to drive new housing approvals and therefore boost the economic growth of the state and of Australia.

The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with the NSW Government to help lift housing approvals particularly in areas where the market is looking for new homes.

CHRIS JOHNSON is the Urban Taskforce CEO.

Tags: 
Home Approvals Economic Growth

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