Australia

Dwelling approvals increase 11.7 per cent in November

FOLLOWING a downwardly revised decrease of 0.1 per cent in October, the total number of new dwellings approved in November increased by 11.7 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A total of 21,055 dwellings were approved in November, compared to seasonally adjusted totals of 18,842 in October and 18,863 in September. When compared to the same month in 2016, the number of dwellings approved in November 2017 was up by 17.1 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

New housing in the southern Wollongong suburb of Berkeley
Above: New housing in the southern Wollongong suburb of Berkeley / by Tony Rodd.

In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals for the month of November increased in Victoria (up 37.9 per cent to 8,946 dwellings), Tasmania (10.4 per cent to 261) and Western Australia (4.0 per cent to 1,619).

Dwelling approvals decreased in New South Wales (down 2.4 per cent to 5,757 dwellings), Queensland (down 2.4 per cent to 3,278) and South Australia (down 3.1 per cent to 1,023).

In seasonally adjusted terms, 9,779 private sector houses were approved in November, which was a 2.0 per cent decrease compared to October's result of 9,983. A total of 11,153 private sector dwellings excluding houses were approved in November, which was a 30.6 per cent increase when compared to October's result of 8,540.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved rose 9.4 per cent in November. The value of residential building rose 14.8 per cent, while the value of non-residential building rose 0.5 per cent.

Following the release of the results, Matthew Pollock, Master Builders Australia's National Manager Economics, said new approvals for apartment developments have again been the source of growth in the last few months.

"But the bigger emerging story is from non-residential approvals data, which was up in value terms by 6 per cent in November 2017, and up by more than 13 per cent over the previous 12 months. This latest data supports Master Builders' expectation that the arrival of the long-awaited upturn in the commercial construction sector is imminent," Mr Pollock said.

"Master Builders expects non-residential building activity to grow by 14.6 per cent in 2017/18, with the value of work done estimated at just over $41.5 billion.

"Other indicators suggest there is still some way to go for new residential construction in 2018. Rental vacancy rates are still very low in most inner city apartment markets. In Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, rental vacancy rates remain close to record lows. Yields have also generally held pretty strong which is keeping investors in the market.

"Brisbane is an exception and there is evidence that supply may be putting pressure on yields in the Queensland capital – although vacancy rates remain low," Mr Pollock said.

More information is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website at <http://www.abs.gov.au/>.

Photo: New housing in the southern Wollongong suburb of Berkeley / 'Big boxes on the hillside' / Tony Rodd / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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