Medium-density approvals see sharpest fall in four years

The uncertainty in Queensland markets has led to the largest decline in medium-density housing approvals in four years, Bankwest has said.

In its 2017 Housing Density Report, Bankwest reported that the short-term trend for medium-density approvals showed the largest decline in four years. This phenomenon was led by Queensland as the combination of many apartments nearing completion and tightened terms of lending for foreign investors saw developers shun new medium-density construction.

Looking at the numbers, only New South Wales (5.9 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.3 per cent) posted an increase in the number of approvals year-on-year.

Approvals in the Northern Territory plummeted by 49 per cent to 400 approvals in the year to March 2017, while Queensland saw approvals fall by 25.6 per cent to 19,693. Western Australia saw approvals fall by 27.1 per cent; Tasmania (-21.1 per cent), South Australia (-10.7 per cent) and Victoria (-1.4 per cent) also experienced diminishing rates of approval. The national average fell by 6.5 per cent.

Of approvals granted, 89.5 per cent of those were for housing in the capital cities. However, according to the 2011 Census, this group of approvals only made up 76.0 per cent, reflecting the “surge” in medium-density dwelling approvals for capital cities over the last five years.

Bankwest said: “Capital cities experienced a 6.4 per cent decline in medium-density approvals in the year to March 2017, while regional areas saw medium-density approvals decline by a similar amount (7.6 per cent).”

The non-major bank said that the similar figures suggest that the factors driving capital city medium trends are also at play in regional areas.  

Top 10 areas

The report also drilled down into specific local and regional areas and identified the top 10 areas for medium-density housing.

In the year to March 2017, Melbourne City had 99.8 per cent of total dwelling approvals as medium density, followed closely by Sydney Inner City at 99.6 per cent. Brisbane Inner (98.9 per cent) and Surfers Paradise (97.4 per cent) came next, followed by Botany and North Sydney-Mosman in New South Wales, Robina in Queensland, Adelaide City, Strathfield – Burwood – Ashfield in New South Wales and Victoria’s Port Phillip.

Bankwest commented: “Queensland accounted for seven of the top 10 regional local areas for medium-density housing approvals as a proportion of total approvals during this period, highlighting the coastal spread of Queensland’s growth in apartments and units.”

The top seven regional local areas for medium-density housing were all in Queensland, with Surfers Paradise (97.4 per cent) and Robina (96.5 per cent) taking out gold and silver. There were no regional areas in South Australia, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania on the list. New South Wales’ regional hubs, Wollongong (56.5 per cent) and Newcastle (52.6 per cent), rounded out the list.

[Related: NSW housing need set to grow ‘substantially’ by 2025]

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Lucy Dean

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