Real problem with NSW housing supply revealed

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To address demand for houses in New South Wales, the NSW Planning System needs to hit about 73,000–75,000 approvals each year, though not all these will result in new homes being built as financial circumstances change over time, Urban Taskforce Australia has suggested.

Recent ABS data showed that the number of free-standing houses approved each year in NSW has been consistently around 30,000 per year since 2016, with a decline in 2020; while multi-unit dwellings (town houses and apartments) fell off completely from three good years of 42,000–44,000 approvals in 2016–2018 to less than 30,000 apartment approvals in each of the last three years.

Below are the ABS seasonally adjusted numbers:














 

Houses

Multi-unit dwellings

Total

12 months until May 2022

29,981

26,883

56,865

12 months until May 2021

29,584

28,021

57,605

12 months until May 2020

24,238

25,173

49,411

12 months until May 2019

28,908

30,879

59,787

12 months until May 2018

30,697

42,701

73,398

12 months until May 2017

29,622

43,234

72,341

12 months until May 2016

25,893

44,223

73,845

12 months until May 2015

25,103

35,644

61,537

12 months until May 2014

23,103

30,894

53,997

12 months until May 2013

19,189

22,798

41,987

“The planning system needs to approve more apartments as well as maintain its performance on free-standing houses or the housing supply crisis will get worse,” said Tom Forrest, CEO, Urban Taskforce. “There is an urgent economic need to open our borders to skilled migrants and to students ASAP. But there is also a need to prevent a disaster in the housing market.”

Forrest noted that between 2016 and 2021, the Greater Cities Commission, previously known as the Greater Sydney Commission, set low housing targets for councils. But while these targets were largely met, the state still had a massive shortage in the housing supply market.

“Prices have skyrocketed. Now interest rates are on the rise. As the new targets are developed for the new Regional Plan and associated Cities Plans, it is critical that this failure in policy leadership is addressed,” he said.

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