More People – More Housing

Strong Population Growth Necessitates More Housing

The demographic statistics released by the ABS today imply strong demographic demand for housing, said the Housing Industry Association (HIA), the voice of Australia’s residential building industry.

“The figures show Australia’s population reached 23.13 million in mid-2013, having added over 407,000 people in the year to June 2013. This is equivalent to a growth rate of 1.8 per cent over the year which is well above the long term average,” said Geordan Murray, HIA Economist.

The natural increase in population (births minus deaths) added 162,656 people in 2012/13. That represented an increase of 2.6 per cent over the previous year and contributed 0.7 percentage points to the overall annual population growth.

Net overseas migration increased by 8.6 per cent in 2012/13 to 244,371.This element of population growth contributed 1.1 percentage points to the overall annual population growth.

“With our population ageing and the baby-boomer generation progressively moving into retirement, Australia’s workforce must continually be replenished. Healthy levels of skilled migration, such as we are currently observing, will become increasingly important if we are to see the productivity improvements that will deliver sustainable advances in living standards,” noted Geordan Murray.

“The ABS population projections show net overseas migration is expected to make a stronger contribution to population growth in future years than it has in the past. The ABS’s mid-range population growth scenario anticipates net overseas migration of 240,000 people per year, which is consistent with the level we saw in 2012/13,” added Geordan Murray.

“The latest data shows Australia’s population has continued to grow at an above average pace and official projections show this is expected to continue. To date there has not been any commensurate boost to the supply of new housing. It is time for policy makers to acknowledge the imminent policy challenge that this situation poses,” commented Geordan Murray.

HIA Media Release December 2013