Mirvac: immigration reboot to overwhelm housing supply

While all the usual suspects continue to claim that rigid planning and lack of land release is responsible for Australia’s housing shortage, Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz basically admitted that this shortage has been caused by excessive levels of immigration, which will worsen as the Big Australia policy is rebooted:

“We’re in a genuine national crisis on affordability. It will have an effect on the next generation unless we solve it quickly”…

“Supply is the issue. We simply don’t build enough homes to cope with the population…

“Apartment supply, for example, across the east coast of Australia in 2023 is going to be only 45 pct of what it was in 2018, but at same time we turn migration on. That is just putting more and more pressure on upward prices. That is not good for young people in this country.”

Brickworks CEO, Lindsay Patridge, also recently admitted that any ‘lack of supply’ will be caused by excessive immigration:

Business Editor Ross Greenwood:

“You’ve gotta have demand to build the houses… After the housing boom that Australia has enjoyed, it’s been a situation where now there is a shortage of houses, especially if immigration goes up. But oddly enough, to build those houses, you need immigration to rise.

“Now I have chatted with Lindsay Patridge, who is the chief executive of Brickworks – Australia’s biggest brickmaker – and he says the key to all this is immigration”.

Lindsay Patridge, CEO Brickworks: 

“The biggest issue there is that you have gotta have a pretty positive idea of where immigration is going to go. While immigration’s not there, eventually that’s gonna reduce demand quite dramatically. 100,000 people need about 42,000 to 45,000 homes to live in, and we’re down two or three hundred thousand people. We’ve gotta get immigration going again if we are going to see those sorts of numbers achieved”.

So if we want to ensure that more new homes are available for incumbent Australians, all we need to do is run a lower immigration policy. Thanks for confirming that.

Take a look at the next chart. Does it look like Australia hasn’t been building enough homes?

Australian dwelling construction

Australia’s dwelling construction boomed over the past decade.

The truth of the matter is that any housing shortage was/is caused by one thing only: Australia’s mass immigration policy:

Australia's net overseas migration

Return to a ‘Big Australia’.

Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM) jumped from an average of 90,500 between 1991 and 2004 to an average of 219,000 between 2005 and 2019 – representing an annual average increase in immigration of 140%.

The Intergenerational Report (IGR) projects that Australia’s NOM will average 235,000 people a year over the next 40 years, which will increase Australia’s population by 13.1 million (50%).

Let’s stop the gaslighting. Excessive levels of immigration is behind Australia’s purported housing shortage, not a collapse in construction (which actually rose substantially over the past decade – see first chart above).

Rebooting mass immigration to levels projected in the IGR will obviously make the supply problem intractable.

Policy makers and commentators need to quit the charade. If they want to fix Australia’s housing supply ‘problem’, they should abandon the Big Australia mass immigration policy, which the overwhelming majority of Australians do not support anyway.

Unconventional Economist


  1. The Mirvac CEO has been reported for a formal code violation, and sent off the same immigration re-education camp that did such great work with Berejiklian and Keneally.

    Her choice is pretty simple really. Embrace Big Australia, or be sent to Coventry by the entire power elite.

  2. Ross Greenwood’s argument is for never-ending immigration to cope with a housing supply issue. Wonder how many he owns.

  3. Virginia JohnstoneMEMBER

    Hi Leith,
    Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz’s comments originally reported in the AFR (https://www.afr.com/property/residential/mirvac-stoking-housing-demand-without-more-supply-adds-fuel-to-fire-20220519-p5amq1) do not state that the housing shortage has been caused by excessive levels of immigration. She is in fact referring to supply as the issue and the effect that turning immigration back on will have to compound that. Could you please update your article to accurately reflect her comments?

    Many thanks

    Virginia Johnstone
    Senior Manager – Corporate Media Relations at Mirvac

    • Respectfully Virginia, the answer is “no”.

      Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz’s comments are pretty clear: “Because supply is the issue. We simply don’t build enough homes to cope with the population”.

      Given Australia’s population growth is driven by immigration, she has tacitly admitted that immigration has been too high and has overwhelmed supply.

      To say otherwise is double-speak.

      The best I will do is change the title to “Mirvac: immigration reboot to overwhelm housing supply”. But I stand by the text.