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Building approvals down by 8.6%

Dwelling construction approvals fell by 8.6 per cent in April, dragged by a large fall for apartment developments in Victoria.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that a 28.6 per cent decline in building approvals for semi-detached, row or terrace houses, townhouses and apartments (anything but houses) drove the overall fall in approvals for April.

The 6,175 approvals for non-house dwellings formed a little more than a quarter of the total 21,482 building approvals, which were up by 39.2 per cent from a year before, despite slipping from March.

The month before, total building approvals experienced an 18.9 per cent rise.

According to the ABS, a large drop in approved apartment developments in Victoria had dragged the overall total. The state copped an overall 23.5 per cent fall in total dwelling approvals.

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House construction approvals, on the other hand, grew by 4.6 per cent during April, reaching its record total of 15,063. During the year to April, house approvals had surged by 67.4 per cent, while non-houses had slightly increased by 1.7 per cent.

Daniel Rossi, director of construction statistics at the ABS, commented that the April result highlighted a sustained strong demand for detached housing.

“Since the introduction of HomeBuilder in June 2020, private house approvals have risen 84 per cent, with South Australia hitting a new record high and New South Wales reaching the highest since December 1988,” Mr Rossi said.

The end of the HomeBuilder grant on 14 April did not have a material impact on the data, the ABS added, as the building approval process typically occurs after the submission of the application.

Going by states, NSW managed the largest monthly increase for approvals, of 12.3 per cent. The momentum appeared to be driven by houses, with approvals up by 30.1 per cent over April.

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South Australia and Western Australia also raised their approvals during the month, up by 3.4 per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively.

Victoria, as mentioned before, copped the largest fall in approvals of 23.5 per cent, with approvals for houses also down by 5 per cent.

Queensland also experienced a fall of 14.3 per cent, while Tasmania’s approvals declined by 2.5 per cent over the month.

The value of total building approved slid by 22.6 per cent to $12.2 billion, with the value of total residential building falling by 7.1 per cent. There had been a 7.6 per cent rise in new residential building and a 3.8 per cent fall in residential alterations and additions.

The value of non-residential building was almost halved, falling by 43.2 per cent to $3.8 billion, following March’s high of $6.8 billion. The ABS reported the result was largely driven by a fall in public sector approvals.

[Related: Housing boom perseveres with 2.2% value hike]

Find out more about the top property and home buying trends in your local area at the Better Business Summit 2021. Places are limited, so make sure you secure your place at the five-state event asap!

Building approvals down by 8.6%
Building approvals down
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Sarah Simpkins

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

Previously, she reported on banking, financial services and wealth 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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