Hike in building approvals reflects continued demand for housing – HIA

Industry body notes demand is still elevated six months after HomeBuilder scheme ended

Hike in building approvals reflects continued demand for housing – HIA


By Micah Avry Guiao

Six months after the HomeBuilder scheme ended, housing demand is still on the rise as evidenced by the strong number of approvals for detached buildings, multi-units, and apartments in the past month.

Citing the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Housing Industry Association (HIA) economist Tom Devitt revealed that detached building approvals rose 15.5% and 32.2% in the three months to September compared to the same quarter in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

“This will continue to support a healthy pipeline of on-the-ground home building work to the end of next year,” Devitt said. “Leading indicators, including HIA’s New Home Sales data, suggest that the detached market remains robust despite lockdowns.”

Multi-unit approvals are also detecting an upward trajectory, jumping to 34.4% from 2020. In particular, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia had the most number of apartment approvals.

“There has also been increased activity in medium density housing, suggesting this market is also enjoying some of the shift in preferences towards lower density housing,” Devitt said. “Strong growth in detached house prices may also be adding to the popularity of medium density living.”

Although renovation approvals experienced a slim decline in September, Devitt said it still “remain elevated” at 10.6% as people still cope with the lingering effects of the pandemic.

“In addition to HomeBuilder, this has been driven by shifts in spending from services like travel, entertainment and dining out, towards housing,” Devitt said. “With Australians spending more time at home and accumulating a significant amount of savings, an increase in demand for larger living spaces is unsurprising.”

In seasonally adjusted terms, total residential building approvals increased in the three months to September across all states except Tasmania. New South Wales as the top performer at 38.5%, followed by South Australia at 30.5% and Western Australia at 28.6%.

However, Northern Territory experienced a decline for building approvals by 31.7% in original terms.

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