Big increases in Hunter and Illawarra rents: Its the housing undersupply

14 February 2011

Todays rent figures, released by the NSW Government, reveal that rents for three bedroom houses jumped by as much as 21 per cent in the Illawarra and 14 per cent in the Hunter, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The figures were set out in Housing NSWs Rent and Sales Report for the December quarter. The report tracks all new residential tenancy agreements. 


The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the surge in residential rents was an inevitable consequence of a massive housing undersupply.


Theres a huge disconnect between where people want homes, and where the homes are available, Mr Gadiel said.


The real tragedy is that developers are ready and willing to supply new homes where theyre needed, but the planning system and high development levies are holding us back.


Mr Gadiel said that while inflation was at 2.4 per cent over 2010, average new rents for three bedroom houses soared by:


¢ 20.6 per cent ($70) in Kiama;

¢ 13.5 per cent ($35) Cessnock;

¢ 10.3 per cent ($30) in Maitland;

¢ 9.7 per cent ($30) in Shellharbour;

¢ 9.1 per cent ($30) in Wollongong; and

¢ 5.9 per cent ($20) in Newcastle.


Thats a big jump when you consider how low inflation is, he said.


Theres clearly strong upward pressure on rents, flowing from the shortfall in newly built housing.


For example, the Lower Hunter Strategy says that about 2,760 new houses should be built annually in greenfield areas, but the most recent data suggests that the rate is less than 250 a year.


Mr Gadiel said that no state approves less new homes per head of population than NSW.


If rents are to be kept affordable we need a much stronger supply of new housing.


We need to see lower, more transparent, development levies, greater investment in urban infrastructure and a more flexible planning system that responds to the requirements of the whole community, not just those who are trying to block new housing.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


Please note: A rent table for individual local council areas is below.


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