NSW shows it can be done: building starts rise thanks to Homebuilder in first half of 2021

Urban Taskforce CEO, Tom Forrest, said that construction data released by the ABS today showed that the June quarter had seen a welcome lift in new home building starts in NSW.

“In the first half of 2021, new home building starts in NSW had risen to a level close to the peak their peak of March 2016 – with almost 20,000 new homes commenced in the 3 months up till the end of June this year”, Mr Forrest said.

“The Commonwealth Homebuilder stimulus meant that every property developer with a planning approval sought to immediately get on with building.  The flow of new approvals increased in NSW in the first half of 2021, but it still did not keep pace with the demand from the property development community or the demand from new home buyers.

“However – this mini-boom was all before Greater Sydney was closed down and planning approvals went into a slump. Apartment approvals are at a dangerously low level and unless this is reversed, when migration returns, this will come back to bite.

“Urban Taskforce calls on Premier Perrottet to take the lead and place housing supply at the front and centre of the post COVID-19 economic recovery.  Some swift changes to improve the speed of the planning system, informed by the detailed work done by the NSW Productivity Commission in the development of the White Paper 2021 “Rebooting the economy”, would see massive private sector investment, generating jobs and tax revenue, as well as placing downward pressure on housing prices”, Mr Forrest said.

As Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet commissioned the NSW Productivity Commission to undertake a deep dive into the productivity constraints inflicted on new home buyers by the strictures and dictates of the NSW planning system. The Productivity Commission dedicated an entire chapter of its White Paper to this cause.

“Housing supply must be the number one priority of the NSW Planning System if NSW is to restore housing affordability for an entire generation of millennials.

“A steady stream of approvals is needed across all areas of Sydney where there is demand for additional housing.  That may mean that in some suburbs, particularly where they are well serviced by critical infrastructure, the local character may change.  But hiding from that reality will simply cause an affordability crisis.

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