Developers Continue to Lodge DAs Despite Downturn


Falling rents and weak population growth hasn’t deterred NSW developers from lodging development applications over the third quarter, according to the state’s land registry body.

The privatised NSW Land Registry has reported an 8 per cent increase in plans lodged compared with the same time last year.

The registry, which the government sold for $2.6 billion in 2018, also reported a shift away from strata buildings towards land-based subdivisions throughout the pandemic.

“This may signal a change in consumer demand, with more people working from home and a [Sydney] CBD location not as critical,” NSW Land Registry chief executive Adam Bennett said.

While NSW building approvals are still tracking lower than a year ago, ABS approvals figures published last week show a 4.6 per cent lift over September.

Since April, the NSW government has fast-tracked six tranches of projects—more than 100 major projects and planning proposals—including major rezoning around the Western Sydney Airport precinct.

Proposals for student accommodation schemes have surged in Sydney, with the Moore Theological College submitting $33 million plans for an 8-storey, 113-bed, student housing redevelopment at its Camperdown campus on Carillon Avenue.

▲ The Moore Theological College has submitted plans for 113 beds across two new buildings at its Camperdown campus. Image: Plus Architecture.
▲ The Moore Theological College has submitted plans for 113 beds across two new buildings at its Camperdown campus. Image: Plus Architecture.

Meanwhile, Mirvac and John Holland lodged plans for the Waterloo Metro Quarter over-station project in early November, which includes a 25-storey student housing tower.

The NSW Land Registry operates a preliminary examination tool, which developers can use to provide an initial assessment of their plans against lodgment requirements.

Bennett said that there has been a 14.28 per cent increase in the amount of lots pre-examined this year compared to 2019.

Low interest rates and government stimulus has supported demand for housing, with UBS analysts upgrading their forecasts for housing starts to 170,000 for the year from 153,000 in June.

“Residential building approvals were far stronger than expected in September, up 15.4 per cent to 190,000 annualised, the highest level since February and one of the highest since the 2018 boom,” analysts George Tharenou and Jim Xu said.

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