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Address land supply shortage to lower property prices

By Ben Faulks

It's no secret that the cost of Belconnen real estate and property in other parts of Australia has been rising for some time now, but a new report suggests it could be land prices that are to blame.

The HIA-CoreLogic RP Data Residential Land Report covered the final three months of 2015 and shows that while lot sales fell 1.6 per cent, average prices were up 5.2 per cent. Experts believe a lack of supply is behind this trend, something policymakers will need to make sure is addressed if the property market is to become more accessible.

"Housing costs are one of the biggest components of most households' budgets and needlessly jacking land prices up through inaction on supply will make for real hardship over the long term," noted Shane Garrett, senior economist at the Housing Industry Association.

Cities are feeling the pinch

The report identified that it's Australian cities that are most affected by this trend. Lot sales were down 2.3 per cent over the previous quarter, during which period median lot prices increased 6.6 per cent.

And the effect on capital city real estate values is plain to see, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed in its December quarter Residential Property Prices Index. Over the course of the final six months of last year, property prices increased 0.2 per cent across the eight capital cities, also rising 8.7 per cent year on year.

This comes as RP Data research director Tim Lawless acknowledges that the number of vacant land sales fell 14 per cent over the 2015 calendar year. This drop has been more evident in areas where there's the highest demand for housing, which may include real estate in Belconnen.

State and territory governments are now being called upon to make sure enough land is released before the problem is able to increase any further.

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