The task of housing Australia’s growing population is dependent on our ability to release a steady supply of serviceable land. This is the fifth edition of the annual State of the Land report prepared by the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA). The report examines the supply, price and size of residential lots in Australia’s five largest cities (Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne). The State of the Land has been prepared by each state division of the UDIA with input from the country’s leading urban development practitioners.
Comparing data between the cities has been compromised by the absence of official up-to-date data from Sydney and Melbourne. UDIA has provided forecasts for missing official data where possible. The New South Wales Government data track two years behind most of its State counterparts and the most recent data for lot production, median price and median size is from 2009/10. The Victorian Government has not provided lot production data for 2011/12.
Since 2005 an alarming trend of declining land supply levels has persisted, although for the past few years the trend has not been evident across all the cities. Land prices continue to rise gradually despite the fact that the median size of lots
has decreased across the board. The factors influencing land release, lot prices and land sizes are of course different in each state and by extension each city surveyed in this report. Nevertheless, there are a number of barriers to supply which transcend state and territory borders. One such barrier is the complex planning approval processes which are riddled with delays across Australia. Furthermore, delays in the provision of infrastructure have been holding up residential development in vast areas. In most cities, the first user pays approach to funding infrastructure is adding significantly to the price of land, rendering many development projects too expensive to pursue.