The latest ABS housing approval data for NSW indicates a big drop over five months.
Between July 2016 and December 2016 home approvals in NSW dropped by 24% and apartment approvals by 35%.
Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said these numbers give the new Housing Minister a big challenge“The home approvals by trend for December 2016 were 4,950 compared to the July 2016 figure of 6,545. This is a drop of 1,595 or 24% over 5 months. Most of the drop was with apartment approvals which dropped from 4,133 in July 2016 to 2,668 in December 2016. This is a drop of 1,465 or 35%.”
Mr Johnson said it is important that Minister Anthony Roberts brings in new policies and improvements to the planning system to reverse the current trend, as the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) has not been able to influence housing approvals.
He said the confusion with local council amalgamations may have contributed to the slow down.
“The recent release of the District Plans by the GSC has added to uncertainty as they seem to restrict housing in a number of areas. The August rezoning review issued by the Government has also made it more difficult to submit planning proposals," he said.
“The big drop in housing approvals comes just as the new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has stated that housing supply is the key to housing affordability and appointed Anthony Roberts as Housing Minister to tackle the supply issue.
“Minister Roberts is in an ideal position as both Housing and Planning Minister to take some strong action to ramp up housing supply in the state. He needs to look at the restrictive zoning in the District Plans that stops new housing in district and strategic centres and in out of date industrial areas in inner Sydney.
“The Minister should also use the Greater Sydney Commission to fast track housing approvals for large projects over the value of $20 million. He should also look at setting up planning centres of excellence in each of the six Sydney districts to drive housing supply.
“In the current boom economic times, Sydney should be completing 40,000 new homes a year but the highest number to date has only been 31,000.”