Building approvals by state

Following are a series of charts drawn from today’s ABS Building Approvals numbers. First up, is the national chart for dwelling approvals, which doesn’t look too bad, though is obviously in a significant declining trend, giving back after last year’s stimulus dragged forward demand:

When we break down by state, however, we get a very mixed picture. In NSW residential construction remains very depressed, hovering around levels seen in the 1980s:

Next up is Victoria, where the picture is reversed. Approvals for both houses and apartments are running well above historic trend. Apartments in particular have boomed, and bounced in the quarter, though the trend is now down:

Queensland remains in a sorry state, as bad as NSW and threatening to break new lows:

 WA is chugging along quite nicely:

SA has had a nice run but is heading backwards:

In sum, then I’d say building approvals are a concern. If we take out the Melbourne apartment boom, the national numbers look pretty anaemic.

Then there’s the non-residential building approvals – shops, factories, offices etc – which look ok, running at about 2005 levels, not a bust exactly but not a boom either:

Houses and Holes
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  1. So since 1983 we’ve added on average about 13,000 to 14,000 apartments and house per month which at 2 persons per unit is added accommodation for about 9 million people over the 28 years.

    Wow, we must have had one hell of a housing shortage in 1983!

    • Hang on a minute tiger. According to the ABS, since 1983 1.3m units & apartments have been approved but only 1m have been built.

      By comparison, 3.1m detached houses were approved but only 2.9m actually built.

      Remember, a fair portion of these homes would be replacing the existing housing stock, so they don’t necessarily represent increases in housing supply.

      • Ok I’m being a little loose with the stats but even on your numbers there is 4.2M units built which is accommodation for at least 8.4M people and probably more. Now we only have to adjust for the replacement of existing stock.

        Just seems like a lot of housing units built to have a housing shortage in 2011 or in 1983

        • Ignoring credit availability, demand for houses would have increased even with zero population growth due to population ageing (kids leaving home), increased divorce rates, higher incomes, etc.

  2. since 1983, seasonally adjusted:
    total NSW private houses: 685,742
    total VIC private houses: 810,585
    total QLD private houses: 713,881

    given NSW is the most populated state, the shortage for NSW is real or at least relative to VIC.

    • Slower population growth rate in NSW. Less overseas immigrants than VIC, and leakage to QLD (and just about everywhere else too) in the last 15 years (now slowing)

      • The shortage is real in Sydney. One of the key reasons why people have emigrated from Sydney to the other capitals is because of its relatively over priced housing due, in part, to its undersupply. Remember, too, that the bigger a city is, the more construction it needs just to replace dilapidated pre-existing stock.

  3. “Approval of apartments ahead of historic trend in Melbourne”.

    Good news or bad for Melbourne apartment owners and investors?

    Bad, a glut in apartments in 2013/4 is a definite YES!!

  4. Why is it that the ratio of houses:apartments approvals in Victoria and WA is the reverse of NSW, QLD & SA and has been since 1983? Apologies if this has been raised before.

  5. Could you please post where about in Building Approvals June 2011 you are looking, I cannot find these stats