The Suburban Land Agency had defended the rate at which it has supplied residential blocks in the ACT, after it was revealed about 7500 people registered to buy 115 blocks in a Taylor land release.
Suburban Land Agency chief executive John Dietz told an ACT budget estimates hearing on Monday the agency had continued to supply land faster than population growth in Canberra demanded it.
Mr Dietz said Canberra's population had grown by about 1000 people in the last year, which meant an extra 400 families would need somewhere to live; in that period, the Suburban Land Agency had delivered enough land for 3000 houses.
"When you look at the four-year period, it's a very similar figure. There's the population increase of about 21,500 people. We released enough land for 14,500 dwellings, which, again with the family formation rates, suggests about 36000 people," Mr Dietz said.
The agency and Housing Minister Yvette Berry came under heavy questioning from Liberals Mark Parton and Peter Cain, who argued the ACT government had not done enough to improve housing affordability and prices would continue to rise if not enough land was released.
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Mr Parton pointed to the $1.2 million private sale at auction of a 680 square-metre block in Denman Prospect at the weekend as an indication land prices were unaffordable for Canberrans.
But Mr Dietz said an excess in land provided over four years since the establishment of the Suburban Land Agency had actually driven down prices, and the price per square metre of land released by the agency had fallen in that period despite strong growth in the housing market.
The agency's deputy chief executive, Neil Bulless, said the growth of the housing market last year had been unprecedented internationally, driven by low interest rates and record-high savings.
Mr Bulless said residential blocks in nearby parts of NSW were now no longer than ACT equivalents, and the median price for Suburban Land Agency blocks in the last year was $406,000, or about $770 a square metre.
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