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Dwelling approvals bounce back after stimulus wind-down

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Sarah Simpkins 7 minute read

Construction approvals for dwellings rebounded in August according to ABS data, rising after declines in the months following HomeBuilder.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have shown the number of dwellings approved for building rose by 6.8 per cent in August (seasonally adjusted) to 18,716 approvals – ending a run of four consecutive monthly declines.

In July, approvals had fallen by 8.6 per cent from the month before, following a 5.5 per cent decline in June, a 7.1 per cent fall in May and an 8.6 per cent drop in April.

The August rise had mostly been driven by approvals for dwellings other than houses, such as town houses and apartments, which rose by 13.7 per cent to 6,453 approvals during the month. However, the total had surged by 47.4 per cent from the prior year and 25 per cent from two years prior.


Houses were also on the incline, following a 5.5 per cent fall in July. At 12,009 approvals in August they were up by 3.5 per cent from the month before – but 23.8 per cent year-on-year and 42 per cent higher than two years prior, in August 2019.

Daniel Rossi, ABS director of construction statistics commented: “The August result indicates that approvals for detached housing remain strong despite the unwinding of stimulus measures in April and the on-going lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria.

“Driven by record low interest rates, increased household savings and confidence in the housing market, private house approvals are 23.8 per cent higher year on year and 42 per cent higher than August 2019.”

Analysis from the Housing Industry Association last month had concluded that the majority of HomeBuilder projects were likely to have finished the approvals process in the three months to July.

Across the states, the number of dwelling approvals in August most sharply rose in Western Australia, up by 21 per cent to 1,999.


Meanwhile, South Australia saw an increase of 11.8 per cent to 1,294, Victoria recorded a rise of 10.5 per cent to 4,160 and Queensland was up by 4 per cent to 3,516.

Falls were charted in Tasmania (down by 18.9 per cent to 1,294) and NSW (down by 2.3 per cent to 4,805).

However, approvals for houses did rise in Victoria by 8.1 per cent to 4,160, while NSW climbed by 7 per cent to 2,769.

South Australia fired ahead with its 16.6 per cent increase in house approvals to 1,095, as Western Australia and Queensland both fell, down by 7.3 per cent to 1,406, and by 5.2 per cent to 2,234 respectively.

The value of total residential building rose by 9.2 per cent to $8 billion, driven by a 9 per cent boost in new building to $6.8 billion and a 10 per cent increase in alterations and additions to $1.1 billion.

Alterations and additions rose to the second-highest level recorded by the ABS, behind April.

The value of total building, including non-residential developments, was up by 20.3 per cent, to $13 billion.

Non-residential buildings’ total value rose by 43.8 per cent to $5 billion, after dropping by 30.6 per cent during July.

[Related: Concerns flagged over housing supply shortage]

Dwelling approvals bounce back after stimulus wind-down
house construction new ta
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house construction new ta
Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is the news editor across Mortgage Business and The Adviser.

Previously, she reported on banking, financial services and wealth management for InvestorDaily and ifa.

You can contact her on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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