Queensland’s folly

In response to the heading a critic might reply; “What just one?”

But as the newsprint article above outlines the Queensland government – and the industry happy clappers – think that some kind of magic uplift in new housing starts will happen as a result of making it a bit easier for older apartment buildings to be redeveloped by reducing an owner’s right.

For mine all that will happen is that older apartments will be harder to resell.  Pity as many of them are good buys, often being larger than most new product; are usually in good locations and are relatively affordable for buyers and renters too.

The evidence at the end of this post outlines why this development play is really a folly.

Table 1 shows that very few apartments across Queensland are actually demolished to help make way for new housing development.

That might change with the new ruling, but I remain very sceptical as last year just 160 apartments – across the whole state – where removed to make way for a new housing project.

This made up just 3% of the net apartment approvals across Queensland during fiscal 2022.

Charts 1 and 2 outline some 2,750 Queensland apartments – being 23% of the recent apartment building approvals – have yet started.

Taking a longer view Table 2 reveals that some 117,000 attached dwellings across southeast Queensland have development permits for a material change of use but have not yet been built.  This figure was up 7% on last year.

If these dwellings were built some 220,000 additional Queenslanders could be housed.  This would greatly improve the currently tight rental vacancy rate and housing affordability.

Some 48,500 or just over 40% of this unbuilt potential attached housing stock is in the Brisbane City Council area.

One might think it would be better if the Queensland government assisted more approved apartment projects to actually get built.  Lots of potential ways how here.

For mine a practical solution to the chronic shortage of affordable housing across the country – and of course including Queensland – is for the government to build more homes.

Charts 3 and 4 show that Queensland doesn’t even bother anymore.  Just 300 public apartments were built over the past 12 months in Queensland.  This was just 2% of the newly built apartments across the state last year.

Australia should also hang its head here too, as just 3,325 public apartments were built across the country last year.  Yet, Queensland’s market share was a pitiful 9%.

Maybe less money should be paid on unnecessary infrastructure to support once off events like the Olympics and more brass is spent on building more civic housing.

As charts 3 and 4 indicate we have done it before.  Now is the time to start it again and keep it going.

Me thinks that a 15% to 20% annual civic housing target rate would be good policy and politics too.

After all, we are currently dominated by Labor governments.


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