NSW housing numbers at the lowest level ever

15 July 2008

The supply of new homes in NSW is at the lowest levels ever according the Australian Bureau of Statistics revised March quarter building figures released today.

The chief executive of the Urban Taskforce, Aaron Gadiel, said that only 29,843 new homes were started in NSW in the 12 months to March 2008.


The construction of new homes in NSW has hit rock bottom, Mr Gadiel said.


Its the lowest figure ever recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


The figures have been in freefall since March 2004.


The best thing that can be said for NSW is that the rate of the collapse appears to be slowing.


NSW home starts have declined 2 per cent since the previous 12 month period, compared with annual falls of 13 per cent, 15 per cent, 8 per cent and 10 per cent in the preceding years.


The situation in NSW contrasts sharply with Victoria and Queensland where the production of new homes has increased.


In the 12 months to March 2008, 41,320 new homes were started in Victoria a 6 per cent increase on the previous year, Mr Gadiel said.


In Queensland 43,310 new homes were started in the 12 months to March 2008 an 8 per cent increase.


With population and demographic pressures, we should be seeing home construction in NSW exceeding, or at least matching Queensland and Victoria – instead, NSW is falling further behind.


NSW is clearly underperforming relative to both Victoria and Queensland.


Mr Gadiel said that while there had been some recent reforms in NSW, restrictive planning laws were contributing to the collapse in new housing.


The NSW planning laws unreasonably limit the construction of new medium and high density housing in areas where it is most in demand, he said.


The laws dont allow enough medium and high density living near high frequency public transport.


The laws also impose inflexible NSW specific design requirements that prevent developers from supplying apartments adapted to the needs of home buyers.


Its also hard for developers to meet the demand for new homes in the outer suburbs of Sydney because of the high government charges, Mr Gadiel said.


Federal, State and local council levies on new homes in Western Sydney add up to $85,000 a residential lot.


Its not enough to re-zone rural land for development, if infrastructure charges and the presence of small land holdings make development impossible.


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


[See table in the attachment for more detailed figures]



Download PDF Version