New South Wales apartment approvals have declined by 33% year over year, a result deemed alarming by industry group Urban Taskforce.

The data form part of Australian Bureau of Statistics’ recent report, which indicated that approvals for new apartments or units declined by 18.6% across the nation in December — down to their lowest level since July 2012.

The apartment market in NSW is slowing rapidly, according to Urban Taskforce. The industry group found that apartment approvals were 3,021 for December 2017, and only a year later, figures showed a drop of 994 to a total of 2,027 apartments.

“Victoria is ahead of NSW in apartment approvals over the last quarter, with 15,472 approvals compared to NSW’s 14,185 approvals. Victoria’s population is 20% smaller than NSW, so approvals would generally be 20% lower. However, they are ahead by 9%,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.

The decline in apartment approvals in NSW was found to have been driven by numerous factors, such as the Royal Banking Commission, tightened lending restrictions, uncertainty about housing policy due to the upcoming state and federal elections, dropping house prices, and anti-development rhetoric driven by campaigning politicians.

“These factors undermine confidence in new housing construction. Whoever wins the state government election in March should look to implement new housing policies to encourage the supply of homes and ensure that jobs and investment in the property sector are maintained,” said Johnson.