MICHELLE AINSWORTH AND NATHAN MAWBY HERALD SUN
ONE thousand apartments have been approved for development in the expanding city centre as Melbourne takes over from Sydney as the building capital of Australia.
The latest ABS building data released this week showed 3957 homes were approved in greater Melbourne in April, 68 per cent more than Sydney.
Of those approved for Melbourne 56 per cent were units, apartments or townhouses.
Planning minister Matthew Guy this week signed off on 1000 new apartments to be built in Footscray and Southbank, to house about 2000 people when finished.
“The residential construction sector in Victoria is proving very resilient,” Mr Guy said.
“With Victoria growing by record numbers, including babies being born, it is important we cater for all kinds of housing growth.”
In Footscray four towers will be built in the Joseph Rd precinct, opposite the Maribyrnong River, including 751 apartments in four buildings ranging from 16 to 28 storeys.
A fifth tower has been approved at 57 Haig St, Southbank and will be 122m tall. The 38-storey building will be 700m from the new Montague railway station and will have 249 apartments.
The latest building approvals data finds Victoria accounted for 33 per cent of all housing approvals in Australia in April.
In the first 10 months of the 2013/14 financial year 45,605 homes were approved for construction in Victoria.
“Whether planning for land supply in suburban growth areas, for urban renewal precincts or for central city high rise apartments, we need to keep building enough homes to keep the market affordable,” Mr Guy said.
RP Data senior analyst Cameron Kusher said the number of sales across the market was not growing at the same pace as last year though.
This might particularly be the case in the units and apartment market, where a median-priced unit fell about $16,450 in the past month.
“It will be interesting to see if some of the units being approved for construction … will they actually get out of the ground?” Mr Kusher said.
“If there are value falls, it’s more likely to be in the unit market than the housing market because there’s an unprecedented new supply of units.”