The uneven distribution of housing supply, 2006–2016

JournalAHURI Final Report No. 334
AuthorsSteven Rowley, Catherine Gilbert, Nicole Gurran, Chris Leishman, Chris Phelps
PublishedAugust 2020
PublisherAustralian Housing and Urban Research Institute Limited
Number of Pages103

This research, funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), examines the quantity, composition and distribution of new housing supply across Australia 2006–16 and seeks to explain variations in local rates of production with reference to demand-side considerations (e.g. population drivers, market cycles) and supply-side considerations (e.g. regulatory barriers, construction costs).

Between 2006 and 2016, total dwelling stock increased by 17 per cent nationally, with WA seeing the greatest increase stock at 26 per cent and NSW the least at just 12 per cent. Thirty-seven of the 489 local government areas (LGAs) analysed for this research increased stock levels by more than 50 per cent over 10 years, while 70 per cent increased stock by up to 25 per cent (on average around 2 per cent per annum). New dwelling supply was concentrated in the inner—usually higher-value—areas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, while Adelaide and Perth saw the highest number of approvals in middle and outer areas.

Together with zoning changes, other common factors to explain high and diverse housing supply in the case-study LGAs include the presence of relatively cheap land (WA); large greenfield or brownfield sites conducive to larger scale, master-planned development (NSW); infrastructure capacity—particularly resulting from transport infrastructure investment; and proactive local planning for growth (outer ring) and or urban renewal (inner ring).

The long-term nature of the urban development processes, including infrastructure provision or augmentation, means that it can take years before rezonings and project commitments result in new housing supply. Ultimately, market conditions and the ability to deliver an acceptable return will stimulate housing development.