Local councils approvals still too slow – while home shortage forces rents up

01 November 2008

Todays NSW Government report on local council performance shows no improvement in the time it takes to get a development approval, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said the reluctance of councils to approve new homes was contributing to Sydneys rental crisis.


The Local Development Performance Monitor 2007-2008 found that councils took an average of 15 weeks (74 business days) to deal with development applications. That is the same as the previous year (73 business days).


Its disappointing that councils have invested so much energy in fighting planning reform, but have not taken any action themselves to improve their performance, Mr Gadiel said.


Sydneys slowest councils are also the areas where new homes are in the shortest supply.


Mr Gadiel said the shortage in new homes is the main cause of Sydneys rental crisis.


It takes an average of 32 weeks for Ashfield Council to deal with new developments while local renters have struggled to deal with a 17 per cent increase in rent for new two bedroom homes in the last year alone.


Hunters Hill Council gives itself an average of 30 weeks to make a decision on a new development while the short supply of three bedroom homes has forced rents up by 30 per cent in the last year.


Auburn Council takes an average of 29 weeks to make its decision while local renters have been hit by a 26 per cent increase in rents for two bedroom homes.


Marrickville and Manly councils both take an average of 27 weeks and renters have paid the price for their reluctance with an 18 per cent and 11 per cent increase respectively in local rents for two bedroom homes.


These figures are averages only – many development applications take up to 9-12 months to get resolved.


Some even take years to get sorted out.


Across Sydney weve seen an 18 per cent increase in rents for three bedroom homes and a 15 per cent increase for two bedroom apartments in the last financial year.


Mr Gadiel said that its time to take the brakes off urban development.


Without a strong supply of new housing, rents will continue to sky rocket and first home buyers will struggle even more to save a deposit for a home of their own.


Local councils should help get new developments approved rather than fighting development in the name of existing land owners.


Local councils should embrace the idea of reform, and get on with the job.


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



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