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Thousands more units needed to meet demand, SEQ councils told

Council areas in south east Queensland were so far behind in the production of housing they would need thousands of units to be developed each year just to catch up with population growth, according to a report from Pexa.

Sep 27, 2023, updated Sep 27, 2023
Brisbane suburban housing near the city. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt, file)

Brisbane suburban housing near the city. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt, file)

While Queensland councils were found to be efficiently delivering land to market, Pexa head of research Mike Gill said the report highlighted that Australia could not rely solely on greenfield developments on the urban fringes to meet the housing demands.

“People want to live in cities for access to education and employment, and it’s our cities that are best placed to deliver these services, as opposed to creating new and disconnected communities on our cities’ fringes,” he said.

The report concluded that “densification’’ was necessary.

It found that Brisbane had a forecast population growth of almost 14,000 a year, well below projected dwelling growth. Assuming councils continued to deliver vacant land at current levels, it would mean an additional 5000 units would be needed each year.

In Ipswich another 2300 units a year would be needed, the Gold Coast needed 3747, Moreton 1900 and the Sunshine Coast 2121.

“Based on current vacant residential land settlement levels, key LGAs such  …. Brisbane, Ipswich and Gold Coast in Queensland are projected to require significant additional unit construction to meet their respective dwelling growth forecasts,” the report said.

“LGAs such as Liverpool (NSW) and Brisbane already have high levels of medium and high-density construction and are therefore well positioned to cater for their growing populations. However, LGAs such as Moreton Bay and Ipswich _ that are characterised by lower-density housing _ may be required to either release more land, or scale up medium-density projects.

“Given the imbalance between land supply and demand, the research finds that local government areas in NSW and Queensland would need to build thousands of new units to meet forecast demand in the next five years, with only Victoria currently releasing enough new land to meet dwelling growth over the next five years,’’ Pexa said.

It found that settlements on new residential land fell across all three eastern states to 73,901 in the 2023 financial year, a fall of 13.6 per cent.

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Of the three eastern states, Queensland was successful overall in delivering land to market, with 24,226 vacant land settlements in 2023, but this was down 16.2 per cent. However, the land released in many key greenfield LGAs, particularly in fast-growing south east, was below forecast dwelling growth.

The aggregate total for vacant residential land settlements in Queensland was $10.74 billion, 3.7 per cent below the previous year, according to a report from Pexa.

It found that the land released in the higher growth areas was well behind forecast dwelling growth “meaning significant unit construction was required to supply adequate housing.’’

Queensland was also the most efficient state at releasing land, with the lowest average sale-to-settlement time of 156 days.

Of the three eastern states, Queensland also had the most affordable land, particularly in regional areas. The median price for residential land outside Greater Brisbane was $231,000.

The top three local government areas for residential land settlement were Logan (3142), Ipswich (2266) and Moreton (1784).

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