Sydney built a record 40,009 new homes in February marking “good news for housing supply with strong population growth”, according to industry organisation Urban Taskforce.
Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said in a statement on Friday that the housing completions are above the required 20-year average of 36,250 per year. Approval for the new homes came a few years back when the housing boom reached its peak, and Johnson recognises that the combination of government policies and the hard work of the development industry are finally bearing fruit.
Johnson attributes the big changes on housing production from early years to the rise in the proportion of apartments, which were nearly 70% of the total. A decade ago, detached houses and apartments were approved at similar quantities. Today, apartments and multi-unit dwellings are hugely preferred.
Changes to the planning system also played a part in establishing planning panels for large projects and the growth in complying development approval streams. “Most apartment projects are larger scale projects so the role of planning panels in assessing these will continue to be important,” Johnson said.
Housing completions may have reached record levels, but approvals are dropping. There were 58,774 housing approvals in February 2017 compared to the 51,994 approvals in February 2018, Urban Taskforce’s figures showed.
Johnson predicts the 11% drop to still dip further as the housing development industry will go through peaks and troughs. But what’s important for him is that “government policies continue to support both strong approvals and strong completions and do not add additional cost to development or add red tape”.