Housing Australia Future is a new publication by Housing Industry Association (HIA), the voice of Australia’s residential building industry.

Providing an in-depth analysis of Australia’s housing requirements, the inaugural edition of Housing Australia Future considers future building requirements under different population and real income growth scenarios for Australia, as well as for each state and territory.

HIA Economist Geordan Murray observes that a major policy challenge for Australia in the coming decades is in ensuring a sufficient supply of new dwellings to house the growing and ageing population. The annual new home building requirement between now and 2050 is expected to be considerably higher than what has been achieved over the last 20 years. Even with Australia’s population and its real incomes growing at a medium rate, the country will need to build an average of around 186,000 dwellings per annum.

The annual requirement of 186,000 dwellings comprises of 152,000 homes to provide housing for new households and between 30,000 and 35,000 dwellings to offset demolished homes as well as to satisfy the demand for additional housing attributable to a rise in real household incomes.

The number of new homes built in 2013/14 was about the same as the number of new homes demanded by the population during the year. However, this perfect supply-demand match is more of an aberration, considering that there has been considerable mismatch between the level of demand for housing and the quantity of new home building throughout much of the last decade.

Government policies should therefore aim to align demand and supply over the long term. The federal government’s pending review of taxation and the review of federalism present a clear avenue for action on this problem.