New home-building approvals indicate a healthy market in the Hunter, according to new analysis from an industry body.
The Housing Industry Association cited new ABS figures to consider the region’s market as performing strongly, despite a dip from recent record numbers.
HIA Hunter executive director Craig Jennison observed that “in total 4,598 approvals were issued for new dwellings across the Hunter during 2019, a decrease of 7 per cent from the decade high recorded in 2018”.
While acknowledging a decline in new home-building approvals across detached new homes and multi-unit approvals, the director did outline that detached houses do remain “the mainstay of the local market”.
Despite this “slight” deterioration, “it was a solid result, considering the head winds the industry faced”, Mr Jennison said.
The combined effects of the financial services royal commission, tighter access to finance, a state and federal election and falling house prices all weighed heavily on market confidence during the first half of 2019, the director outlined, considering it as “promising to see confidence returning to the market later in the year”.
Taking a closer look at the data
According to the director, “Much of the heavy lifting for the residential sector continues to occur in the Lower Hunter.”
Mr Jennison called out Maitland for the title of “biggest mover” after the city saw its housing approvals boosted by 182 dwellings to 1,096 over the year from 2018’s 914 – a 20 per cent increase.
The director also said it was also pleasing to see large percentage increases in total dwelling approvals in more regional locations, notwithstanding off a low base.
Gloucester saw a 71 per cent increase from 2018’s 14 dwellings to 2019’s 24 dwelling approvals.
Muswellbrook approvals jumped from nine in 2018 to 15 for 2019.
Dungog also saw a 10 per cent increase in dwelling approvals in 2019, from 40 in 2018 to 44 in 2019.
Looking ahead, Mr Jennison has forecast a short-term softening of residential-building activity “before a gradual pick-up in 2021”.
“Pleasingly, housing in the Hunter remains affordable for average households, and market conditions look set to support continued demand for new homes locally in the near future,” he concluded.