Five Year Housing Forecast

The NSW Department of Planning recently released the five year housing forecast. The forecast includes housing expected to be delivered within existing planning controls as well as current residential developments under construction or approved. It’s the first of, what we are advised, will now be an annual release. As a profession, planners used to rely heavily on the former MDP to guide our work. We welcome the return of annual housing forecasts.

Housing Forecast by District

Although the dates don’t quite align, a comparison of the five year housing targets in the current Sydney District Plans versus the latest housing forecast, reveals that housing delivery is tracking well. The overall forecast and target for Sydney is generally consistent for the two five-year periods. There is however, a definite shift in where housing is forecast to be delivered. The Districts that are more reliant on delivering housing through higher densities, namely apartments, are falling short. The Central District, which offers the potential of a greater diversity of new housing, is expected to pick up the shortfall.

Housing Forecast by Local Government Area

Some Councils are likely to exceed the District Plan targets based on the current forecasts. Take a look at Blacktown, Liverpool and The Hills. In theory, there will be less pressure for these Councils to consider further rezonings of land within the LGA that are not already forecast. The reality however is likely to be that these three western Sydney Councils will continue to over deliver on the targets. Western Sydney has provided more than its fair share of new housing for quite some time now and there is no sign that this will significantly change in the future. It’s where the Orion head office is located because it’s where the action is at!

There are some big shortfalls for Canterbury-Bankstown and City of Sydney. Canterbury-Bankstown reflects the scrapping of the Sydenham to Bankstown Priority Precinct a few months before the last NSW State election. The City of Sydney is possibly more complex. It could reflect a move in market preference for commercial floor space in the face of reducing CBD commercial vacancies or the faltering housing market. It could just be a reflection on the general state of the housing market which is seeing a decline in apartment housing construction starts. Most likely it’s a combination of these factors and more.

As all Sydney Councils are due to complete their Local Environmental Plan reviews by 30 June 2020 (which will include rezonings to implement the housing targets) there is likely to be some pressure for these Councils to make up the shortfall. Neither Council have been quiet when it comes to voicing their concerns with development in recent years. It’s going to be interesting to see what role that politics will continue to play in the rezoning of land and the delivery of housing now that the NSW State election is a distant memory.

*Forecasts have been rounded to the nearest 50 dwellings.

Nathan Croft | Planning Manager | Orion Consulting

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