New South Wales Premier Chris Minns has revealed he supports high immigration, even though Sydney is very unaffordable and congested – so more foreigners can build new high-rise apartments.
A record 454,400 overseas migrants moved to Australia in the year to March, with the vast majority heading to Sydney, one of the world’s most unaffordable property markets.
The situation is now so serious that the Paris-based OECD has raised concerns that Australia’s high population growth and lack of housing are driving up property prices.
NSW Labor’s first budget since 2010, presented on Tuesday, promises the state government will build just 4,700 homes over 16 years, even if Sydney is to welcome 100,000 new overseas migrants a year .
Despite the population influx, Mr Minns said he supported record immigration levels, arguing more migrants were needed to build houses and apartments in Australia’s most populous state.
“We support the Commonwealth Government’s decision to increase immigration to New South Wales, although we will not accept the majority but the greatest number of incoming immigrants,” he said on Tuesday. the 7:30 a.m. ABC broadcast.
NSW Premier Chris Minns has revealed he supports high immigration, even though Sydney is very unaffordable and congested – so foreigners can build new homes (he is pictured center with state Housing Minister Rose Jackson)
“A lot of this workforce coming into the state will be directed into the housing market and we need it to build homes and apartments.”
Mr Minns also advocated relaxing planning laws so that more apartment towers could be built in established suburbs, rather than clearing land to build new homes in distant suburbs.
“That means more urban infill, that means more apartments and units,” he said.
“My job is to create the infrastructure and eliminate the red tape that blocks this type of housing supply for the state.”
Mr Minns argued more apartments would improve affordability, although couples with children often prefer a house with a garden.
“If we can get this going, and at least move first on the East Coast, we can alleviate some of the housing issues, particularly those facing young people in New South Wales,” he said. -he declares.
“We believe we have enough capacity for large-scale infill development, so high-rise apartments particularly close to the CBD.”
Sydney is so unaffordable that even apartments are expensive, with a median unit price of $822,145 out of reach of an average income of $95,581, according to August house price data from CoreLogic.
A dozen interest rate hikes from the Reserve Bank since May 2022 mean a bank cannot lend to someone more than six times their income.
Sydney’s median house price of $1,359,936 is so expensive that a borrower with a 20 per cent deposit stands to earn $181,000 – which would put them in the top four per cent of earners. higher – to avoid finding yourself in a situation of mortgage stress.
Nearly a third, or 29.6 per cent, of residents in Sydney’s NSW premier-led Kogarah electorate have Chinese ancestry and Mr Minns almost lost his seat in 2019 after former NSW Labor leader Michael Daley was filmed saying Asians with PhDs were taking local jobs.
Mr Minns’s support for high immigration contrasts sharply with that of Bob Carr, who as New South Wales Labor premier in the late 1990s called for steep immigration reductions. ‘immigration.
Mr Carr’s appeal was ignored, with net overseas immigration steadily climbing into six figures from 1999, when John Howard was Liberal Prime Minister, and figures continued to soar outside the Covid pandemic.
AMP chief economist Shane Oliver estimates Australia will be short of 285,000 homes by mid-2024 and has called for net overseas immigration to be cut in half to 200,000 – up from around 500,000 currently – so that housing supply can keep pace with population growth.
Australia’s population growth rate of 2.2 percent is one of the highest in the developed world.
Canada’s population grew by 3.4 percent in the year to June 2023.
After Hong Kong, Sydney is the second most unaffordable real estate market in the world when average incomes are compared to median house prices, followed by Vancouver, Honolulu, San Jose and Los Angeles.
The Paris-based OECD is so concerned that it has noted a link between high immigration and unaffordable housing in Australia.
“Supported by structural factors, including robust population growth and a limited inventory of homes for sale, prices have rebounded in a number of countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia,” he said. said in its September interim report released this month. week.
Despite the population influx, Mr Minns said he supported record levels of immigration, arguing that more migrants were needed to build houses and apartments (pictured are workers from Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union in Brisbane who usually build apartments).
Mr Minns argued more apartments would improve affordability, although couples with children often prefer a house with a garden (pictured are apartment towers in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west).
While the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund aims to build 30,000 social homes over five years, the NSW government aims to build 4,700 more modest homes over 16 years.
The state budget included a $2.2 billion housing and infrastructure plan.
This will include $1.5 billion to build roads, parks, hospitals and schools to support the construction of new homes in Sydney, the Lower Hunter, the Central Coast and the Illawarra.
The package included $300 million for enabling Landcom, the State Government’s property developer, to deliver an additional 1,409 affordable homes and 3,288 commercial homes by 2039-40.
Mr Minns admitted he needed help from Canberra to build more homes.
“We will always seek help from the Commonwealth Government, particularly when it comes to houses,” he said.
Sydney and Melbourne received 56% of new migrants between 2000 and 2021, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Breaking down, Sydney became home to 29.3 percent of new migrants, compared to 26.6 percent for Melbourne.
Parts of western Sydney have seen the strongest population growth, with the wider Parramatta region seeing its population increase by 10 per cent between the 2016 and 2021 census surveys.