From June 2020 to April 2021, the number of detached houses approved for development each month nearly doubled from 8,347 to 15,134. A key driver of this was the HomeBuilder grant, as well as other stimulus offered up to keep the Australian economy buoyant during the pandemic. Approvals of attached dwellings (such as townhouses and apartments) haven’t seen the same radical upswing, which means the bulk of new housing supply is made up of houses.
Between July 2020 and May 2021, some areas experienced more approvals than others. In Queensland, the clear leader was Caloundra West, where 822 new houses were approved. For attached dwellings, Mermaid Beach – Broadbeach (in the Gold Coast) was the Sunshine State’s winner, with 618 new dwellings approved. These results aren’t much of a surprise. Demand for homes in South-East Queensland skyrocketed during the pandemic, particularly as some businesses flirted with flexible working arrangements.
The story is a little different in New South Wales. Riverstone – Marsden Park in Sydney’s north-west experienced the most approvals for both detached and attached homes. A total of 4,224 dwellings were approved over the period, dwarfing anywhere else in the country. In Victoria, South Melbourne saw the highest number of attached dwelling approvals. This isn’t much of a surprise due to the massive Fisherman’s Bend precinct.
With borders closed for the foreseeable future, the bulk of demand for housing is coming from our existing population. Relocations, upgrades and downsizes are keeping the number of property transactions high. In addition, home buyer incentives have been turning a large number of renters into first home buyers. The number of house sales in Sydney and Brisbane in Q4 2020 was higher than any other quarter since 2015. Admittedly, this comes off the back of a period of lockdowns earlier in the year which persuaded some sellers to put off until later in the year.