Uptick in building approvals a promising sign

New figures likely mean investors will return to the market and overall activity is to increase

Uptick in building approvals a promising sign


By Madison Utley

Building approvals surged by 11.8% over November 2019, largely due to a significant increase in volume in New South Wales.

“The improvement in approvals in November is consistent with other leading indicators which show that the market started to stabilise around April 2019,” explained HIA Economist Tom Devitt.

“These improvements are a most welcome reprieve from the declines that began in late 2017 and reinforce the positive developments we have already seen in lending finance and new home sales since April.”

According to Devitt, the strong result in New South Wales was predominantly due to approvals for apartments. Additionally, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT saw increases in building approvals over the month.   

“Strong house price recovery in the established market in the second half of 2019 should also bring investors back to the market as well as support an increase in activity across the economy,” he added.

In seasonally adjusted terms, building approvals for the month of November 2019 increased in New South Wales (+52.8%), South Australia (+3.8%) and Queensland (+1.0%), while declining in Tasmania (-11.5%), Western Australia (-6.1%) and Victoria (-1.8%).

In trend terms, the Australian Capital Territory increased (+0.3%) while the Northern Territory declined (-2.6%).

However, while the November figures are promising, Australia’s property woes are not entirely in the past.

“The market nonetheless remains well down from previous years and concerns relating to overly tight credit conditions persist in weighing on the market,” said Devitt.

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