There’s fears Albury’s continued year-on-year growth could falter in 2019 if loan restructures resulting from the royal commission lead to fewer developments.
Council planners said 2018 was a period of high confidence and activity for Albury with 1068 developments worth $205.2 million approved compared with 1057 and $198.4 million in 2017.
But Albury mayor Kevin Mack said while it was encouraging the Border continued to grow the current banking crisis could be Australia’s “own little GFC” – referring to the 2007 global financial crisis which hurt markets and stalled development across the global.
“We don’t know how the banking royal commission will impact on anything, there’s been a definite slow down in terms of the way banks structure loans and how they determine who gets a loan and who doesn’t,” he said.
“It used to be that you could get 90, 95 or even 100 per cent covered in some places, now it’s back to 60 per cent of the value of the build.
“It encourages borrowers to have more money and they have more skin in the game but some people can’t afford that.”
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Cr Mack said development was also high across the twin cities as the border allowed people to pick which state to build in and consider what bodies they’d deal with and what grants were on offer.
Cr Mack said Albury-Wodonga’s market had always been a little insulated from national trends, but would be impacted by the struggles facing nearby farming towns.
“When farmers make money, they spend money and small and big businesses in Albury flourish,” he said.
“Albury and Wodonga don’t stand alone. We’re a regional location with good farming economies around us so water supply and drought will be significant impacts on businesses for the next 12 months to three years.”
Staff vacancies caused the average processing time for a development application to increase from 51 days in 2017 to 60 days in 2018, but Cr Mack said there had been significant improvements in the six months since the positions were filled.
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