Page 4665 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 November 2018

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Housing—residential property approvals

MS CHEYNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, how have residential building approvals been tracking recently, and what does this indicate about housing supply?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Cheyne for the question. Over the past 12 months the ACT has seen annual growth of 64.2 per cent in the number of residential building approvals. I can advise the Assembly that this is the strongest rate of growth of all Australian jurisdictions. Through the year, growth has been positive for eight consecutive months. There has also been significantly higher than the national growth rate over this period. This strong data from September builds on the all-time record month in the history of the Australian Capital Territory’s residential building approvals: June, when 739 approvals were granted in just that one month. A strong pipeline of building approvals means that more new homes are coming online to meet demand in the months and years ahead.

At a time when the ACT’s population is growing by 2.1 per cent a year, second only to Victoria’s, it is important that we continue expanding our housing stock to ensure all Canberrans can find a suitable and affordable home. In this context it is worth mentioning that, according to the Grattan Institute’s Orange Book, which was released earlier this week, the ACT is the only jurisdiction in Australia to have grown its housing stock per adult between 2011 and 2016. I repeat: the ACT is the only jurisdiction in Australia to have grown its housing stock per adult between 2011 and 2016. We have continued growing housing supply because we understand the need to continue to supply housing to a growing population.

MS CHEYNE: Chief Minister, what sorts of residential properties are being approved, and how is this improving housing choices for Canberrans?

MR BARR: We are continuing to see a mix of freestanding homes, townhouses and units being approved across Canberra, which is important for diversifying our housing mix and giving Canberrans more choices about where they live.

In the 12 months to September 2018, there were 6,170 approvals in total, consisting of 2,595 approvals for houses and townhouses along with 3,575 approvals for units or apartments. The number of approvals for freestanding homes increased by 32.3 per cent over the past year, with September’s approvals also being significantly above the five-year average for this segment of the market. The new freestanding homes will add to the 112,311 existing detached homes which make up 70 per cent of residential properties across the ACT.

Our housing mix is changing over time as we renew the city and town centres in line with the planning principles laid down by successive Labor governments, firstly, of course, by former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope. By promoting a strong pipeline of both freestanding homes and townhouses and apartments, we are working to ensure that there are housing options available at price points and in locations that suit all Canberrans, from the youngest first homebuyers and singles to families with kids and

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