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Critical supply boost needed to stabilise house prices: NAB

By Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
19 April 2021 | 1 minute read
Ross McEwan reb

The government has been called on to enact “decisive moves” to increase housing supply, with new data suggesting nearly one in two Aussies believes that now is a good time to buy a home.

Following on from CBA’s and Westpac’s committee hearings on Thursday, NAB chief Ross McEwan said on Friday that a supply boost is critical for warding off housing heat, as the bank predicts a boost in prices of at least 10 per cent in 2021.

Mr McEwan called on the states to streamline approval processes for land development and residential construction in order to offset the incentives for first time buyers, which will “inevitably” push up house prices further and faster.


“It takes an average of five to seven years to get from a paddock outside a major city through zoned for development and for a house to be built on it. That is much too long and state governments need to make it faster,” Mr McEwan said.

Also on Friday, NAB released new research revealing changing preferences among home buyers and a boost in interest in regional towns.

Interestingly, according to NAB’s data, as many as 45 per cent of Aussies believe that now is a good time to buy a home despite soaring prices, with 13 per cent planning to buy in the next 12 months.

“For many, the great Australian dream is a spacious home with a nice backyard for entertaining, and it’s more affordable in outer suburbs and regional towns than the inner city,” NAB executive Andy Kerr said.

The bank’s research, which surveyed 330 property professionals, revealed that around nine in 10 see a study or work area as more important now to home buyers than it was pre-pandemic.

Good local shopping, restaurants and amenities also hold great value among 75 per cent of the survey’s participants, while 65 per cent consider the size of the property a key decider.

In a similar vein, consideration of a move to regional areas is swelling, with 85 per cent listing this as a more important factor.

In fact, according to CoreLogic, these changing preferences have led to an 11.4 per cent rise in dwelling prices in regional areas over the past 12 months, as opposed to a 4.8 per cent increase in the capital cities.

Regional areas are especially popular in NSW, with Sydney said to be the most expensive city to buy in.

“The regional push is more prevalent in NSW than any other state,” Mr Kerr said.

“Our data shows more than one in 10 Australians expect to buy a home this year, and more and more will be looking further out than we have seen historically.”

In Victoria, the country’s longest lockdown has rocked the housing market, with metro-proximity declining in importance more than in any other part of the country.

“At the same time, the size of the property, buying a house over an apartment and having a dedicated work area have all increased significantly in importance over the past 12 months,” Mr Kerr said.

Findings across Queensland also suggest a strong regional appeal, with coastal areas proving particularly popular, including the Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Cairns. Conversely, in Western Australia, the regional push isn’t quite as strong given the comparative affordability of Perth as against the eastern capitals.

Similarly, the regional push and move away from metro areas is least prominent in South Australia.

“This may be linked to affordability, as Adelaide prices remain comfortably below the eastern state capitals,” Mr Kerr concluded.

Critical supply boost needed to stabilise house prices: NAB
Ross McEwan reb
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