ACT building approvals going backwards while the nation surges forward

Catherine Carter.

THE Property Council ACT’s Executive Director Catherine Carter says building approvals in the ACT have fallen over the past 12 months according to the latest data released today from the ABS.

“Nationally, the latest ABS Building Approvals data shows a significant improvement on last month’s record-breaking results with 205,796 new dwellings approved in seasonally adjusted terms for the 12 months to February 2015, up from 203,182 in January 2015,” Catherine said.

“ACT Building Approvals recorded a thirty one per cent decrease in trend terms over the previous annualised 12 month period. A total of 3,466 homes were approved to the end of February, which is disappointing given that all other states increased their approval numbers.

“It is disappointing to see the drop in building approvals in the Territory over the past year, particularly in contrast with high activity levels across the rest of the country

“While the annualised numbers show an increase, the month to month figures are falling. Only 198 dwellings were approved in February in trend terms which was a 16 per cent decrease on the previous month.

“This peak level of activity nationally in the property and construction industries is underpinning Australia’s economy, creating jobs and delivering much needed growth and strength in the face of lower performance by other industries.

“It is also helping to address the fundamental issue of new housing supply and the flow-on benefits to housing affordability from increased supply.

“We need to see a boost in activity in the ACT if we are to keep construction levels strong and bring on the required volume of new housing stock, particularly at the affordable end of the market.

“A focus by the ACT Government on planning and tax reform must continue to be a priority. We also need to ensure that we’re not locking out local industry from participating in the market, which will reduce competition and housing choice.

“Accordingly, the recent announcement by government that it has reversed its decision to develop half the new Molonglo Valley suburb of Denman Prospect itself and instead put it back on the market for sale to the private sector is welcome.

“Reopening the market to competition will achieve the best outcomes for the people of Canberra,” Ms Carter concluded.

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