Australia’s property industry welcomed the year on a low note, with property confidence in New South Wales (NSW) and Western Australia (WA) declining over the March 2019 quarter.

NSW property industry confidence has decreased one index point from 120 to 119 over the quarter, and has fallen 22 index points over the last several months, according to the latest ANZ/Property Council Survey. As a result, the state’s property industry confidence has become one of the lowest in the nation.

The Property Council of Australia reported that lower forward work schedule expectations and house capital growth expectations have played a part in driving the results lower across the board.

“Sentiment is down, and with a state and federal election just around the corner, I don’t think we will see it rebound in the short term despite stronger results in some sectors,” Property Council NSW Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald said. “The industry is facing a lot of uncertainty and change, particularly over the past 12 months. We have seen the introduction of Special Infrastructure Contributions, increasing 7.11 levies, the changing of key policies such as the Medium Density Housing Code, the updating of Local Environmental Plans, and the review of approaches to planning in areas such as Ryde – that’s a lot of change for an industry.”

Considering a flat residential market, there is also a real threat that these planned policy changes will have a disadvantageous impact on economic growth and jobs. The 400,000 people who work in the property industry in NSW depend on a healthy industry for their economic wellbeing, Fitzgerald said.

The WA property sector, on the other hand, has recorded a slight decrease in business confidence after steadying results over the last 12 months.

The ANZ/Property Council Survey index for WA for the March 2019 quarter is 129, marking only one index point drop from the previous quarter.

Over the past year, the WA property industry’s confidence index has slid by 11 index points. However, it remains higher than the national average of 123 index points.

“Confidence in the WA property sector remains strong. However, the latest dip in sentiment reflects an industry that is continuing to ride the bumpy road to our state’s full economic recovery, despite upticks across most property sectors,” Property Council Executive Director Sandra Brewer said.

The latest survey implied that there is a continuing strong level of investment and work commitments in the industrial, retail and retirement sectors of WA. In addition, the state can also expect growth in its economy.