NSW Needs Planning Reform, Says HIA

The analysis which identifies a number of poor performing councils and the impost on new housing and domestic alterations and renovations supports the urgent release of the NSW Complying Development (Housing Code) by the NSW Planning Minister, Kristina Keneally.

According to HIA Executive Director, Mr Graham Wolfe, by reducing planning approval delays, a new Complying Development Code would have a ignificantly positive impact on housing affordability.

The recently released 2007/08 Local Development Performance Monitoring report shows that Sydney Councils take an average of 121 days to approve their applications for a single detached house. “Some councils take up to 180 days.

This is simply unacceptable,” said Mr Wolfe.

The NSW Complying Development (Housing Code) contains a well defined set of criteria applying to both single storey and two storey new homes and renovations.

“Not only would a Code reduce approval times for a single detached house down to 10 days, indirect cost savings will also slash thousands off the cost of a new home.

“40 per cent of DAs in Sydney were delayed as councils sought further information from applicants. A Complying Development Code would add certainty
and remove unnecessary reports, legal fees and plan amendments. Not only will this reduce the frustration so often associated with the DA process it will mean even further savings for the applicants.

“HIA estimates that a new Complying Development Code could save an average of $6,500 on the cost of building a new home in Sydney and nearly $2,500 in regional NSW,” said Mr Wolfe.

The total saving to the industry in NSW would be in excess of $45 million.

“At a time when housing activity is at its lowest level this decade (20,000 fewer houses than in 2002/03), rental prices are escalating and public housing waiting lists are swelling, the planing approval process in NSW has frustrated and delayed any chance of a recovery in housing activity.

“With interest rates at the lowest level in nearly a decade, affordability improving and first homebuyers grants and bonuses providing additional assistance, the timing for a kick start to the housing industry is long overdue. The consumer, the residential building industry, employment and the state’s economy will all benefit,” said Mr Wolfe.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.