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Building approvals soared in November

The number of new dwellings approved across the nation jumped in November, largely driven by a 52.8 per cent increase in building approvals in NSW.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown an 11.8 per cent increase in national dwelling building approvals (in seasonally adjusted terms) in the month of November on the prior month.

These figures, released by the ABS in the November edition of the Building Approvals report, include a 6.1 per cent increase in private sector detached houses from the previous month, and a 22.6 per cent increase in other private sector dwellings excluding houses.

The improvement in building approvals was largely driven by a strong result in NSW, which saw a seasonally adjusted increase of 52.8 per cent during the month.

South Australia and Queensland also both saw increases in building approvals in November of 3.8 per cent and 1.0 per cent, respectively.


Despite strong growth in the construction sector, dwelling approvals still remain down 3.8 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms from the levels experienced in November 2018.

Further, according to the ABS, the trend estimate of the value of total building approved fell by 2.6 per cent in November and has fallen for five consecutive months.

The value of residential building fell 0.7 per cent in trend terms and has fallen for nine consecutive months, while the value of non-residential building fell by 5.0 per cent in trend terms and has fallen for four consecutive months.

According to Tom Devitt, Housing Industry Association’s economist, building approvals in November reached their highest level since March 2019, and the ABS results remain consistent with data, suggesting that the Australian housing market began to stabilise around April 2019.

“The strong result in NSW is largely due to strength in approvals for apartments. South Australia, Queensland and the ACT also saw improvements in building approvals in the month of November,” Mr Devitt said.

“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 2019. 

“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.”

Mr Devitt anticipated that the launch of the government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme on 1 January will help to “support broader activity” in the housing construction sector, as demand increases for entry-level dwellings.

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

[Related: Home values surged in December quarter]

Building approvals soared in November

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