New house approvals continue to trend upward

by Mark Rosanes08 Jan 2021

The number of building approvals for private houses and renovations continued its upsurge for the fifth consecutive month in November, reaching a level not seen since December 1999, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Approvals for private dwellings increased 6.1% in November, with all states recording a jump in the number of approvals, led by Queensland’s 17%, and followed by Western Australia’s 7.5%, South Australia’s 2.8%, Victoria’s 1.5%, and New South Wales’ 0.7%.

However, while approvals for private houses increased significantly, ABS data revealed that dwellings excluding houses “remain at subdued levels, falling 3.9%.”

Daniel Rossi, director of construction statistics at ABS, said that the continued ascent can be attributed to historic low interest rates and a spate of government-sponsored incentives.

“Approvals for private houses have surged 40% since June,” he said. “Federal and state housing stimulus measures and low interest rates have resulted in strong demand for detached dwellings.”

Meanwhile, ABS’ seasonally adjusted data showed that the total number of all dwellings approved rose 2.6% in November.

The rise in approvals was driven primarily by increases in South Australia at 18.8%, Queensland at 6.5%, and NSW at 1.5%. However, after a sharp jump of almost 30% in October, the figures declined 5.4% in Western Australia. Drops were also recorded in Victoria at 4.6% and Tasmania at 0.4%.

The value of all approved construction also fell 8.4% in November, mostly due to a 27.4% drop in the value of non-residential buildings.

In contrast, residential buildings experienced a 5.7% increase in value, pushed up by a 5.7% rise in new constructions and a 5.6% jump in renovations, which hit an all-time high in November.