Market responds to Tasmanian housing shortage

Tasmania’s housing market appears to be responding to increased demand, with dwelling approvals on the rise.

Amid reports of a crisis-level shortage of rental accommodation and people sleeping in tents at the showground in Hobart and warnings Launceston and parts of the North-West might go in the same direction, approvals of new dwellings statewide have picked up strongly.

Councils had approved 1622 dwellings in the seven months to the end of January, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found.

That meant approvals for the full financial year were on track to push towards 2800, well ahead of the 2235 approved in the 2016-17 financial year.

Premier Will Hodgman announced on March 7 the government would convene an urgent summit to address what he called Tasmania’s housing shortage.

“As a government, we have identified several policies to help address this problem, including building another 1500 affordable homes, the first home builders’ grant, the first home buyers’ stamp duty (relief) and the land tax holiday,” Mr Hodgman said.

“But we recognise more immediate action is needed; nor do we have all the solutions ourselves.

“We will work together with the experts to identify the best, immediate solution.”

Southern municipalities Brighton and Glenorchy were already ahead of their 2016-17 totals by the end of January, with Hobart and Clarence on track to pass their 2016-17 totals in coming months.

Waratah-Wynyard was one of the North-West’s stronger performers, with 41 approvals for the financial year to date.

That left it well placed to surpass its 58 approvals for 2016-17.

Central Coast (48 approvals in the seven months), Latrobe (60)  and Devonport (78) were also good chances of beating their 2016-17 totals.

Things were similar in Launceston, with 136 approvals year to date after 193 in 2016-17.

Meander Valley (78 approvals year to date) was close to passing its 2016-17 total of 85.

Meanwhile, Tasmania’s home lending market remained strong in January, with 1013 finance commitments for owner-occupied housing.

It was the 18th consecutive month with more than 1000 commitments, dating back to late 2016.

Before that, there were about seven years when commitments did not hit 1000 in any month.

They fell into the 700s in some months in that period.

Tasmanian home loan commitments dropped slightly for a fourth straight month in January.

This story Market responds to Tasmanian housing shortage first appeared on The Advocate.