Sydney has over half the cranes in the sky nationally, but numbers easing

Sydney has over half the cranes in the sky nationally, but numbers easing
Sydney has over half the cranes in the sky nationally, but numbers easing

The pausing of new housing approvals in selected suburbs across Sydney by the NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts comes at a pivotal period in the construction boom phase.

Capturing understandable community concerns, Roberts said councils needed “to take a bit of a breath” to be able to play catch up with infrastructure.

But the intervention could reap havoc as property developers seek out alternate projects in less congested suburbs or pack up altogether. 

Sydney’s crane construction count has already recently eased from its late 2017 peak.

There are currently 346 cranes on the Sydney skyline, down from the 350 last October. Of these some 253 are residential cranes spread nicely across 103 suburbs.

“Every single crane in the sky is more evidence of another home, another school, another hospital, another business in our capital,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

Epping, Wolli Creek, Parramatta, Burwood, Mascot, Homebush, Lane Cove, Lewisham, Zetland, Leichhardt, Surry Hills sit among the recent top construction localities. 

Currently Sydney has 51 percent of all cranes erected nationally, while Melbourne contributed 23 percent and Brisbane 10 percent, according to the latest edition of the Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index which highlights the vital continuing input of the construction sector within Australia’s economy.

The current Sydney crane count saw fewer residential cranes, but this was offset as the non-residential sector of offices, hotels and retail projects grew.

The net loss of four cranes within Sydney was the first fall since the commencement of the index in 2012, which signals the emerging downturn in the off the plan apartment construction sites and the construction jobs they create.

Sydney saw 133 residential cranes removed after project completions over the past six months with 88 new additions.

The CBD and surrounding suburbs have 34 (10 percent) of the installed cranes, the eastern suburbs have 11 (3 percent), the north has 98 (28 percent), the south has 88 (25 percent), the west has 109 (32 percent) and the Wollongong region had 6 (2 percent).

While residential construction has begun eased, infrastructure investment by the NSW government has increased, which has resulted in continued, high demand for jobs.

All those tradies in high visibility vests are what's underpinning NSW's economic progress which has seen well over 300,000 extra jobs over the past three years.

The late afternoon line of tradie utes I saw heading in and out of Warriewood on Sydney's northern beaches on a recent visit emphasised their importance to me.

Half had been building new homes in emerging house and land estates, while the others were coming back to their recently purchased homes from project sites elsewhere in Sydney.

“Every single crane in the sky is more evidence of another home, another school, another hospital, another business in our capital,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet recently said.

But halt the new housing rollout and it will extenuate the slowing of the highly cyclical residential sector, already impacted by the emerging credit squeeze arising from official regulatory decisions and the finance industry royal commission. 

 

 

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.

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Sydney Cranes

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