The results of a study by the Property Council of Australia (PCA) has found that significant tracts of land released for residential development in NSW has not resulted in new homes being built, with thousands of potential building blocks lost in the stages between when land is released for development and a home is delivered.

The PCA study found that in the first stage of land release, over a third of land released for new housing does not get rezoned for new homes, while more potential homes are lost between land being rezoned and being serviced with water and electricity and then between when the land is serviced and when dwellings are approved and then completed.

“The five-stage process is like a sieve with homes leaking from the process at multiple points severely restricting the supply of housing,” Property Council NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald says.

“It is shocking to see how many potential new homes are being lost; this undermines efforts to address the affordability challenge in NSW,” she says.

So, while there are constant calls to increase housing supply to lower home prices, the PCA found that in the financial year up to 30 June 2016, there was enough land released to provide over 160,500 new dwellings, but just 30,000 were completed, or over 80 percent fewer than the allocated land could have provided.

Over the past decade, about 40 percent fewer dwellings received approval than the amount of available land.

 “The focus of NSW government reporting (and seemingly monitoring) is concentrated on dwelling approvals and completion figures, ignoring the importance of rezoning and servicing land to be development ready,” Fitzgerald says.

“Converting land from ‘release’ into ‘completed dwellings’ is a complex and time-consuming process. Focus needs to be paid to ensuring that every step in the process is achieved as efficiently and effectively as possible to maximise the conversion of land into new homes,” she says.