Latest building approval figures a 'worrying sign', says housing lobby

by Julia Corderoy04 Nov 2014
The latest building approval statistics suggest that new home building may have reached a ceiling, with total dwelling approvals down 11% over September.

The figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal detached house approvals eased back 3% during the month, while multi-unit dwelling approvals dropped by 21.5%. Total building approvals reached a thirteen month low of just over 15,000.  

HIA Senior Economist Shane Garrett said that the figures provide more evidence that the national recovery in new home building is likely to have passed its peak.

“Monthly approvals reached over 17,000 earlier in the year. During September, we barely hit 15,000,” he said. “The reduction in new home building is probably an indication of the patchy state of the labour market, as well as increased consumer woes post-federal Budget.

“Recent HIA research shows an annual requirement for 180,000 dwellings to be built each year. The fact that we seem to be drifting below this level of output again is a worrying sign. During the early days of the housing upturn, HIA had been vocal in its calls for policy to facilitate new housing supply to be delivered more readily.”

During September 2014, seasonally-adjusted new dwelling approvals increased in Tasmania (+7.4%), South Australia (+2.9%) and Western Australia (+2.1%). Reductions in dwelling approvals affected three states, including Victoria (-19.8%), Queensland (-8.0%) and NSW (-7.0%).