To solve housing shortage, start building

When the property industry generates 25,000 jobs across Canberra, industry optimism is good news for us all.

And the latest check of the industry's pulse finds confidence is on the rise.

The latest ANZ/Property Council Survey, which surveyed the more than 1800 property industry professionals across Australia, finds confidence in Canberra has grown by 30 points in the last year – greater than any other state or territory.

The local industry is expecting slight increases in work schedules and staffing levels, and stronger economic growth over the next year.

However, while overall confidence levels have grown, the office, retail and industrial markets in Canberra remain relatively pessimistic. Confidence in the residential sector has been buoyed by low interest rates and easier access to finance, and growth in house capital values is expected to rise over the next year.

Whether this is good or bad news depends on whether you're saving for a home or are already in the market. Residential property values in Canberra have risen by 3 per cent over the last year, although our high incomes mean the ACT remains the most affordable city in which to buy.

One of the best ways to tackle housing affordability, create jobs and boost economic confidence is to increase the number of homes being built in the territory.

Building approvals across the ACT remain relatively unchanged over the last decade, with the latest building approvals data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealing mixed results. Only 3897 new dwellings were approved in the 12 months to May – a decline of 16.9 per cent on the previous year.

Coming off super-strong housing approvals in April, May saw a decrease of 66.4 per cent on the April 2015 figure to record just 286 approvals for the month.

Year on year, however, housing approvals were up 34.3 per cent up on the approvals recorded for May 2014.

Our challenge is to ensure confidence in Canberra continues to grow, so that housing approvals translate into actual bricks and mortar that not only tilts the balance back in favour of affordability, but creates jobs, prosperity and new opportunities throughout the nation's capital.