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HIA hotspots flawed, says expert

By webmaster
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The top hotspots for population growth in 2010/11 were in the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, according to the Housing Institute of Australia’s (HIA) Population and Residential Building Hotspots report.

Victoria registered nine of the top twenty national hotspots and the ACT equally impressive, claiming the number one hotspot in the country (Canberra City) plus the number six spot.

Western Australia had five hotspots in the top twenty, Queensland had three, and the Northern Territory had one.

The HIA–JELD-WEN definition of a hotspot is a local area where population growth exceeds the national and where the value of residential building work approved is in excess of $100 million.

Canberra City was Australia’s top building and population Hotspot according to the report, with $131.7 million of residential building work approved and a recorded population growth rate of nearly 40 per cent.

The second-placed hotspot was Whittlesea North in Victoria with over $717 million worth of residential building work approved and a population growth rate of 17.4 per cent.

However location researcher of wHeregroup Todd Hunter disagrees not only with the results, but also the method HIA is finding hotspots.

“It’s a flawed system,” Mr Hunter told Smart Property Investment. “Population growth is only effective if there’s a lack of dwellings being built and a lot of people moving in, which creates a supply and demand situation.

“With high population growth and high building approvals, you’re housing all the people moving there which isn’t creating the demand.”

Mr Hunter agreed that quite a few Victorian towns were hotspot material, however he denied that Whittlesea North deserved such a high ranking.

“Whittlesea is a tiny little town, and when you look population growth as a percentage it can be deceiving. If you had a town of 50 people, and 20 people moved in, you’ve got huge population growth as a percentage. But only 20 people moved in.”

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