Investor lending crackdown threatens housing supply

A record number of homebuilding approvals were awarded last financial year – but signs have emerged that activity may have peaked.

There were 220,423 approvals given in 2014/15, which marked a 12.9 per cent increase on the 195,302 approvals from the previous year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

That included 17,868 approvals in June, which was up 8.6 per cent on the previous year but down 8.2 per cent on the previous month.

On a state-by-state basis, Queensland had the biggest increase in homebuilding approvals, while Western Australia had the biggest decrease.

Queensland rose 28.0 per cent to 4,029, Tasmania rose 19.1 per cent to 243, NSW rose 8.5 per cent to 4,840 and Victoria rose 2.2 per cent to 4,908.

The two states that went backwards were South Australia, which fell 6.4 per cent to 837, and Western Australia, which fell 9.9 per cent to 2,350.

Nick Proud, executive director of residential at the Property Council of Australia, said the recent investor lending crackdown appears to have caused a reduction in building approvals.

“With investment loans likely to be lower, the critical issue is to ensure as many approvals are converted to actual builds as possible to boost supply, especially in Sydney where pricing pressures have been predominantly due to undersupply,” he said.

“The danger is that measures to contain house price growth in Sydney and Melbourne mean new housing drops away in other states. These states have only just come back to moderate, long-term five-yearly average house price growth off the back of recent strong building activity.”

[Related: How the market will look in 2020]

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