Building approvals across the Hunter Valley have received a massive boost in the past year, largely thanks to the region’s new town Huntlee.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show approvals in Cessnock, Maitland and Singleton went up 44, 12 and 41 per cent respectively in the 12 months to February 2017 compared to the previous year.
A total of 3,760 approvals were issued for new dwellings in the Hunter region.
Thirty-five per cent of those were in Maitland, Cessnock and Singleton local government areas.
Housing Industry Association Hunter executive director Craig Jennion said the increase in approvals would provide long-term prospects for the Hunter region.
The strategic direction of new housing in the region has been outlined in the recently-released Hunter Regional Plan 2036.
Mr Jennion said if the trends of the last 5 years continued for the life of the plan, the aim of 70,000 additional dwellings would be exceeded by 10 per cent.
Mr Jennion said Cessnock was on track to exceed dwelling projections of the plan by 29 per cent.
There was an average of 410 building approvals in Cessnock over the past 5 years.
A lot of the increase was due to the hive of development at Huntlee, which sits across Cessnock and Singleton council areas.
There were more than 100 dwelling approvals in Huntlee alone last year.
“The approval of this and other greenfield projects in recent years has ensured there is not as large a problem of land supply bottlenecks that occurs in other locations in the Hunter,” Mr Jennion said.
Mr Jennion said continued success across the Hunter depended on whether inland council areas can deliver increased dwellings.
The approval of [Huntlee] has ensured there is not as large a problem of land supply bottlenecks that occurs in other locations in the Hunter.Craig Jennion
“If councils can perform as well as Cessnock is by reducing DA timeframes and working with the development community we will see increased housing affordability and a further decrease in unemployment figures,” he said.
“Should conditions endure on the fringe then there will continue to be many opportunities on the horizon for 2017/18.”