Governments urged to improve planning approval times

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is urging the Federal and State Governments to improve planning approval times in a bid to address the diminishing housing supply.

REIA President, Adrian Kelly said there needs to be a long-term and collaborative industry-government plan for housing.

“Transactions are down, with Victoria reducing by 21 per cent over the past five years while Western Australia saw listings fall by 45 per cent over the past year, indicating a chronic shortage of housing,” he said.

Mr Kelly said the requested changes should involve reducing the cost of the development application process, rezoning reform, improving approval times for development applications, introduction of land release programs and the establishment of a government-led mechanism for reliable data on housing demand and supply.

“In the rising market of 2021, this issue continues to be excessively politicised and has become a conversation of public versus private, state versus federal, young versus old, wealthy versus poor and civil society versus business groups,” Mr Kelly said.

Since 2013, REIA has aimed to promote supply as a key way to improve housing affordability for all. The Getting Real: Strategic Policy Forum last month agreed that this is best addressed through a coordinated and well-funded national housing plan.

REIA estimates before COVID-19, the housing shortfall sat at 150,000.

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC0) forecasts that project completions will fall by 12 per cent by 2022 and that demand will fully rebound by 2023 and the supply crunch will return in force.

There is no current government planning process to manage this, the REIA noted.

Both pre-and-post pandemic, without improved supply planning, REIA believes it is clear we can expect to see prices jump as supply does not keep pace.

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