Housing supply unsteady: New ABS figures

05 May 2011

Seasonally adjusted private sector new home approvals increased by 8.2 per cent across Australia in March, following a much bigger decline over January and February, according to new figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


The Urban Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the return to growth was strongest in Victoria, where a 21.9 per cent surge more than corrected the 19.4 per cent decline in Februarys figures.


Queenslands floods continue to compound that states new housing woes, with a further 15 per cent fall in March, following a fall of 13.8 per cent in February and a 6.6 per cent fall in January, Mr Gadiel said.


Only 1,707 new Queensland private sector homes were approved in March, compared with 3,014 in March last year. This is Queenslands worst March for private sector home approvals since 1986.


Mr Gadiel said that NSW recorded a more even 8 per cent increase in seasonally adjusted new private sector home approvals, following its 7.2 per cent increase in February.


The challenge for NSW will be to maintain its improving position once we begin to feel the consequences of the repeal of Part 3A.


Mr Gadiel said that Western Australias seasonally adjusted private sector home approvals increased by 7.5 per cent, reversing the previous three months of decline.


Western Australias March approval figure is 19 per cent lower than the same figure for last year.


Todays trend figures reveal that private sector detached house approvals have collapsed by 17.7 per cent over the last 15 months.


Marchs small 0.8 per cent seasonally adjusted decline in the nations approval rate for private sector freestanding houses is only the latest drop in a sustained decline, Mr Gadiel said.


The overall increase in Marchs private sector dwelling approvals is attributable to the medium and high density home sector, which was boosted by a 26 per cent jump, although this only partly reversed big declines in the preceding two months.


In trend terms, approval for new private sector medium and high density homes has fallen by 4.3 per cent, over three months. Mr Gadiel said new home supply was clearly unsteady.


Whats most frightening is that there is no sign of the big boost new home construction needed to address the chronic national housing undersupply.


Were well and truly on track to reach the National Housing Supply Councils projected 300,000 home shortfall in 2014.


Mr Gadiel said that the Productivity Commission would shortly hand down a report on the state of planning and zoning laws across Australia.


We hope that the Federal and state governments take this report seriously and are prepared to act swiftly on its findings.


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


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