Media Archive / Latest data show housing sector activity turnaround still a way off

Latest data show housing sector activity turnaround still a way off

After last week’s underwhelming data showing building approvals numbers have dropped to a decade low in NSW, Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) NSW noted that today’s ABS commencement and completions data reaffirms the desperately needed turnaround in the housing sector has yet to start.  This places yet further pressure on the State’s capacity to deliver much needed housing and meet our obligations under the National Housing Accord.

“We are now in the final months leading up to the commencement of the National Housing Accord period in June and NSW is a long way behind where we need to be with approvals, commencements, and completions still in decline,” said Gavin Melvin, Acting CEO, UDIA NSW.

We have an ambitious challenge at hand with the State Government’s commitment to deliver 377,000 homes in a five-year period. This is more than has never been built in NSW’s history and will require a raft of policy changes with Government, industry and the community, working together to unlock a wave of new housing approvals and commencements.

ABS data released today shows that NSW completed just 48,200 new homes in the 12 months to September 2023 – which despite being a 3% increase annually, sits 36% below the required average annual target of 75,600 needed to deliver the Accord targets. It also showed that only 45.300 new dwellings commenced construction over this 12-month period, an annual 11% decline annually. Respectively, these figures are 34% and 40% below their peaks.

The two tables below shows the decline this is evident across all housing typologies.

New Dwelling Commencements, New South Wales Houses Medium Density Apartments Total
For the 12 months to Sep ‘23 (rounded) 23,300 9,350 12,650 45,300
Peak Delivery (& Date of Peak) 32,000
December 2021
June 2022
December 2016
December 2016 
Decline from Peak -27% -25% -65% -40%


New Dwellings Completed, 
New South Wales
Houses Medium Density Apartments Total
For the 12 months to Sep ‘23
(rounded to nearest ‘000)
26,100 12,200 9,950 48,250
Peak Delivery (& Date of Peak) 32,600
June 2019
June 2023
December 2018
December 2018
Decline from Peak) -20% -3% -69% -34%


“The NSW Government has made a strong commitment to the National Housing Accord and adopted some bold policy reforms last year.  This year we need to ensure the rubber meets the road and these reforms begin to turn these low approval, commencement and completion numbers around,” said Mr Melvin.

“For completions to increase we need a major uptick in housing approvals and this needs to be our immediate focus. While there remain major challenges with infrastructure delaying the delivery of new homes, we have to prioritise cutting red tape and delays in the assessment process to turbocharge approvals. Developers are ready to build the new homes and communities we desperately need, but first they just need their applications approved,” he said.

Unfortunately, conditions are now expected to get worse before they get better, with Oxford Economics forecasting annual completions to drop well below 40,000 state-wide over the next two years.

“We’re pleased housing delivery is a key priority of the Minns Government and we are looking forward to working constructively with Government to ensure its reform package rolls out quickly and can maximise the number of new homes built.” said Gavin Melvin.


Media Enquiries to:  Deanna Lane, Director, Media & Communications UDIA NSW and National:
0416 295 898 or