UDIA NSW responds to proposal for flood mitigation on exhibition by NSW Government

Today’s announcement by Minister Ayers of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall for flood mitigation, was enthusiastically welcomed by UDIA NSW and our Members.

“UDIA has long advocated for a clear strategy to reduce flood risk in the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley and improve evacuation infrastructure, including for Marsden Park North, as outlined in our Policy paper in February 2019 where key risks were identified.”

“As the recent flood showed, the current level of flood risk is too high and so it is absolutely right that the government explores the best processes to reduce or mitigate the flood risk.

Solving this issue, which has been ongoing for some years, will enable the delivery of future developments and local amenities, including more than 25,000 new homes in the areas of Penrith CBD, Schofield West and Marsden Park North, which will help to improve housing affordability.“ said Steve Mann, CEO, UDIA NSW.

UDIAs Greenfield Land Supply Pipeline Report – May 2021 shows how important rezonings are for continued housing supply in Western Sydney. This EIS for raising the Dam wall needs to pave the way for a comprehensive solution to unfreeze rezonings in the North West, which currently accounts for 47% of new detached housing completions in Sydney and there is only 5 years of currently zoned land still to be developed.

With new development taking many years to complete infrastructure, it is now urgent to complete these rezonings, some of which have been on-foot now for 8 years plus.

“UDIA recognises the NSW Government’s efforts in providing a detailed assessment of the potential effect the proposal will have on the surrounding environment and the areas both upstream and downstream of the dam and we look forward to providing our submission.” Mr. Mann added.


Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.

Urban Icon #3

In this edition we are delighted to feature our interview with The Hon. Melinda Pavey MP Minister for Water, Property and Housing where she discussed her vision for the future; our three part series on the use of innovative technology in our industry in our interviews with Land Surveys, Sydney Water and 51 World.

We also feature articles on PropTech in buildings, hotels of the future, the currency of property information and amenity in a fragmented world.

We hope you enjoy this edition…

UDIA NSW Applauds Launch of DPIE’s Online Platforms to Support Planning & Investment in NSW

The announcement today by Minister Stokes of the launch by the NSW Government of two online platforms – the Greater Sydney Urban Development Program and the Housing Evidence Centre websites – was warmly welcomed by UDIA NSW and its members.

“UDIA NSW congratulates the NSW Government on the launch of both online platforms as in doing so, it has taken some important steps forward to better support planning and investment in NSW and improve the productivity of our industry.” said Steve Mann, CEO UDIA NSW.

UDIA has long advocated for the need for a better, more strategic approach to the planning and delivery of enabling infrastructure, to ensure we have a robust development ready pipeline in NSW.

The next step with the UDP data, is to develop further digital tools and collaboration with industry to deliver a next generation UDP process. This would represent a ‘one-source-of truth’ to inform the INSW infrastructure priority process to plan for forward residential and employment development supply locations, yields and timing for the delivery of the requisite enabling infrastructure.

DPIE and Treasury are still relying on asking the delivery agencies to consider their request, so we believe the way forward is an Interdepartmental Committee reviewing UDP rapid business cases to make recommendations to cabinet for prioritising infrastructure around housing supply.

UDIA’s Greenfield Land Supply Pipeline Report (May 2021) showed that land supply in the Sydney Megaregion is forecast to be 25,600 lots short of the demand identified in the NSW Intergeneration Report and two thirds of that supply forecast has a missing piece in enabling infrastructure still to be delivered. Given the housing supply and affordability crisis in NSW, we believe the UDP process needs to be a crucial focus for government to improve housing supply and affordability.

“The significant benefits of a digital Urban Development Program (UDP) is something we strongly believed in, having invested in two UDIA pilot studies to prove the effectiveness of such technology partnering with DPIE, councils, trunk infrastructure providers and industry to demonstrate solutions.” Mr. Mann added.


Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.

UDIA NSW report pinpoints critical infrastructure to benefit from $5b WestInvest fund

UDIA NSW welcomes the announcement this morning by the NSW Treasurer of a $5b WestInvest Fund created from the sale of Westconnex and pinpoints the critical infrastructure to benefit.

Representing the government’s asset recycling strategy, proceeds from the sale will be invested in the NSW Generations Fund (NGF) and will be used to fund infrastructure in local areas for the people in Sydney’s west.

While $3 billion will be allocated for future projects including creating more open spaces, pools, schools and community facilities, the remaining $2 billion will be reserved for high priority projects to be developed in consultation with local communities according to the Treasurer.

UDIA NSW CEO, Steve Mann said “The announcement by the NSW Treasurer couldn’t have come at a better time.  Western Sydney has borne the brunt of the Delta strain shutdown and also is weighed down with housing affordability pressures. A focus on enabling infrastructure can unlock a double dividend in jobs for infrastructure, leading directly to jobs building new housing.”

These enabling infrastructure projects were identified by UDIA NSW in May in our Building Blocks Greater Western Sydney 2021 report.

This significant piece of research pinpoints areas where the last missing piece of enabling infrastructure, for water, sewer, power and roads is waiting to be delivered.  The report shows how catalytic infrastructure on land that is rezoned can be made development-ready to unlock approximately 6,300 lots in key areas of Western Sydney alone, creating 15,000 jobs and delivering close to $9 billion to the NSW economy over the next three years.  The investment in the enabling infrastructure identified has been costed at approximately $423m which is equivalent to only $6,000 per lot

“UDIA NSW has a strong focus on Greater Western Sydney, through our NextGen West campaign.  We are pleased that the local infrastructure and facilities that would benefit from the InvestWest fund would create much needed jobs, particularly at this time when the construction and development industry is well positioned to lead the economic recovery from the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “ Mr Mann added.


Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.

Experts gather to solve the housing supply and affordability crisis

Tomorrow, the UDIA Urban Development Property Summit, brings together government leaders industry experts and economic gurus to discuss the state of the housing market in NSW and the economic environment to identify actions needed to help tackle the escalating supply and affordability crisis.

We need to examine the real causes of the housing supply shortage and put forward the solutions that all levels of government need to take action on, particularly the specific issues that are holding us back from driving an economic recovery in NSW.

There is more to this issue than the current rhetoric would lead us to believe and we while agree with Minister Stokes that “planning alone will not fix Sydney’s housing affordability crisis”, there is a great deal more that Planning needs to do in NSW if we are to turn around rising house prices.  What we need is a coordinated effort across all levels of government.  There are far too many agencies, many with competing priorities, which is resulting in governance being held back and a failure to make things happen in a coordinated delivery of growth.

In the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s submission to the Federal Inquiry into Housing Supply issues to examine taxes, charges and regulatory settings at local, state and federal levels – a number of factors were highlighted that speak directly to the issues that will be discussed at the Summit tomorrow:

Sydney is the 3rd least affordable city in the world and has had 2nd or 3rd ranking for 5 years.   Source: Demographia International Housing Affordability

Rapid price growth in NSW is a sign of undersupply and a cause for concern around affordability, both in Sydney and in regional NSW.  Data released this week by the ABS shows strong price growth in the detached house market in NSW over the last year. Detached houses in Greater Sydney experienced price growth of 24% in Financial Year 2020-21, and the rest of NSW experienced average price growth of 42%.  Median sale prices are now at all-time highs across NSW, driven by a hot market with insufficient new supply to meet demand. Dwelling completions are down 14% over the last 12 months and 26% from the peak in 2019.

Source: ABS 

Completions chart

Data to March 2021  Source: UDIA; ABS

Backlog of unsatisfied demand

According to the Productivity Commission White Paper released in May 2021, there is a backlog of 54,000 dwellings in NSW and despite this the forecast is for even lower dwelling completions over the next five years.

Dwelling Pipeline outlook – NSW

Source: UDIA; ABS; CoreLogic; Research4

Phillip Lowe quote

“The underlying driver in our housing market is the balance between supply and demand . . . It is hard to escape the conclusion we need to address the supply side if we are ever to avoid ever-rising housing costs relative to our incomes.”
Dr Philip Lowe, Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia – Remarks at Reserve Bank Board Dinner, April 2017.

RBA Zoning effect report March 2018 – $489,000 in Sydney

Zoning accounts for 42% of the price of a dwelling in Sydney according to the RBA’s report in March 2018 and this between 51% and 208% higher than the other Australian capitals.

Land Supply drought for new housing

At the end of the June 2021 quarter, there were only 334 housing lots ready for sale in Sydney.   This is to service an average annual uptake of 11,500 lots.

UDIA Greenfield Land Supply Pipeline Report 2021

Our report identified the anticipated schedule for future housing supply delivery and identifies the barriers which need to be resolved to meet demand for new homes across the Sydney Megaregion including Greater Western Sydney, the Illawarra, Central Coast, and the Hunter.

  • 32 locations that have estates which need to be rezoned by FY24 – and 13 of those locations are now urgent
  • As well as rezoning, 80 percent of lots that are hoping to be delivered between FY22 and FY29 require enabling infrastructure
  • Across a range of 16 major precincts identified as priority for rezoning by the NSW Government, they have faced an average wait of 5.6 years since their announcement and only recently the first few were approved.
  • Across most sub-regions, more than two-thirds of lots to be delivered are constrained by basic enabling infrastructure such as state roads, sewer and water infrastructure.

There is no doubt in our minds that things are set to get worse for housing affordability, as we watch developable land fast running out and apartment approvals and commencements are at close to record lows.

The market already lacked flexibility and the development-ready pipeline needed to service pre-pandemic demand, but will soon face a surge of additional pressures once our immigration and population trajectory returns to business-as-usual settings.

UDIA Solutions to combat the Housing Supply and Affordability Crisis in NSW

  • From a policy perspective, we have lodged our submission to the Federal House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue – Inquiry into Housing Affordability and Supply in Australia. This Inquiry recognises that the goal of home ownership is intrinsic to the Australian psyche, and yet it has never been more out of reach.
  • From a regional perspective there is a wide range of enabling infrastructure needed, especially water infrastructure, as identified in our Greenfields Land Supply Pipeline report. The report also calls for 29 more rezonings across the Sydney Megaregion to build the delivery pipeline over the next few years.
  • There is so much that can be done now to turn our current situation around with the right focus on industry acceleration and industry reform for long term solutions to improve productivity, including utilising at least $1b of the $3b in infrastructure contributions currently held by councils in the Sydney Megaregion, so that the development industry can again be crucial to our economic recovery and our cities global competitiveness.
  • The NSW apartment market is struggling with approvals down nearly 63% from the 2016 peak and commencements down 43% and falling. Based on the current trend, there could be a drop in supply of up to two-thirds over the next few years. There are 78,000 potential units in NSW that are approved but not commenced. The best way to fix the apartment market and reduce pressure on housing affordability in the short term is to find ways of converting existing apartment approvals into construction projects by tackling the financing problem and reducing pre-sales barriers.
    Our recommendations to government are:
    1. Extend the First Home Buyer grants and assistance scheme for apartments purchased off the plan.
    2. Remove/reduce foreign investor surcharges on new build apartments.
    3. Freeze Land Tax for 12 months for properties awaiting a DA approval.
    4. Provide loan guarantees in exchange for lower project pre-sales thresholds. The NSW Government provided up to $750m via a loan guarantee scheme to help Universities through the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that an equivalent scheme for apartments could play a significant role in getting construction moving.
  • We need the Government to immediately re-open the construction industry to 100% site capacity and by doing so, get people back to work so that they can support their families.
  • Our governments need to work together to lead us strongly out of lockdowns, if we are to re-engage with the rest of the world, reopen boarders and restart immigration to take advantage of our good management through the COVID Pandemic.


Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.

UDIA NSW Congratulates Kiersten Fishburn on appointment as Secretary of DPIE

UDIA NSW congratulates Kiersten Fishburn on her appointment as the new Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) – announced today by the NSW Premier and the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

“This is a welcome decision particularly as Ms. Fishburn is well qualified to provide leadership in this role, drawing on her most recent position heading up DPIEs Planning & Delivery Unit and her strong background in local government.” said Steve Mann, CEO of UDIA NSW.

Kiersten’s assignment from Jim Betts over the last few months as the leader of the Project Delivery Unit, has been crucial to reforming DPIE’s focus on delivery outcomes and efficiency right across government. We are in a housing supply and affordability crisis and UDIA NDSW will work with Kiersten to develop policies to improve productivity and supply in NSW.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Ms. Fishburn in enabling our industry to return to growth, as we emerge from the impact of the pandemic and set a positive course for the future of our industry. At this time, we also thank Jim Betts for his experience and valuable guidance provided to UDIA NSW over his time in the role.” Mr. Mann added


Media Enquiries:
Deanna Lane 0416 295 898 or dlane@udiansw.com.au.