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Systemic policy failure compounds Australia’s housing supply challenges, HIA warns


Australia’s population reached 26.8 million in September 2023, more than a decade ahead of the Australian Government’s forecast, according to Tim Reardon, Chief Economist at the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released its quarterly data on population and components of change for Australia and its states and territories, covering births, deaths, and migration.

“The Intergenerational Report (IGR) in 2007 projected that Australia’s population would not reach 26.8 million until 2034/35,” Mr Reardon said.

He warned that the underestimation of population growth is a systemic policy failure that compounds the challenge of delivering sufficient housing.

The ABS projected the national population to reach 26.9 million by mid-2024, a figure that had been exceeded by the time their announcement was released in November 2023.

Mr Reardon emphasised that an investment in improving ABS data collection, especially around land and population, could have a greater impact on housing supply than other Australian government initiatives.

He argued that state and local councils cannot be held solely accountable for under-supplying homes without clear guidance on population growth, stressing that this is not just a short-term problem emerging due to a spike in population after the pandemic.


A core component of the Australian government’s initiatives to address the undersupply of housing, including delivering 1.2 million homes, is to invest in improving the quality of data around housing supply.

Mr Reardon called for an investment by the Australian government in improving the quality of housing data, focusing on national reporting of land supply to enable performance benchmarking of local councils’ delivery of new homes.

“Good policy decisions require good data,” he concluded.

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