THE supply of new housing in the Lower Hunter has fallen short of government targets by more than 23,000 homes in the past decade, with the deficit set to worsen to nearly 30,000 by 2024, a report done for the Property Council says.
Homebuyers will pay the price if changes aren’t made to ensure the provision of more housing, the industry group has warned.
The report compared building approvals against housing targets set in the 25-year Lower Hunter regional strategy, which was released in 2006.
It found only 2270 housing approvals were issued each year in the strategy’s first decade, not even half of the target of 4600 a year.
But it notes that while approvals were ”considerably below target” they were only marignally below actual demand.
However, the report uses population projections to forecast that the housing deficit will grow to nearly 30,000 in the strategy’s next decade.
The region would need 2944 new homes a year but is expected to come up 673 short.
Property Council NSW regional director Andrew Fletcher said housing supply needed to be turbocharged.
”Home building is critical to the region’s economy and supports tens of thousands of tradespeople and other workers,” he said.
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”If we fail to meet demand, prices rise and housing becomes less affordable for the next generation of homebuyers.”
Critics of the regional strategy questioned its targets as too ambitious and argued some areas it earmarked for new housing were inappropriate.
The regional strategy was due for its first major review when the Coalition won office in 2011.
But it is still yet to release a replacement Hunter growth and infrastructure plan that has been prepared.
Mr Fletcher said fast-tracking the document would provide certainty and confidence for investors.
SOURCE: THE NEWCASTLE HERALD
WRITTEN: MICHELLE HARRIS
PUBLISHED: Feb. 26, 2015, 12:01 a.m.