Australian dwelling approvals accelerate off cliff

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released dwelling approvals data for the month of July. At the national level, the number of dwelling approvals crashed by a seasonally adjusted 9.7% to 12,944. The overall slump in approvals was broad-based with both houses (-3.3%) and units (-18.4%) falling.

In the year to July 2019, dwelling approvals crashed by a seasonally-adjusted 28.8%, with house approvals down 16.6% and unit approvals tanking by 44.2%:

A chart showing the time series of seasonally-adjusted dwelling approvals at the national level is provided below, split-out by detached houses and units & apartments:

Dwelling approvals have crashed in trend terms, driven by units & apartments:

Since initially peaking in March 2015, dwelling approvals nationally are down by 33% in trend terms.

Approvals have fallen fast in rolling annual terms:

There were 182,756 approvals in the year to July 2019 – well below the peak of 242,231  approvals in the year to August 2016 – with most of this growth in approvals coming from units and apartments, which are still running well above the 30-year average.

The below chart shows the time-series of approvals at the state level on a trend basis, with massive busts recorded across the major markets:

As you can see, the housing construction bust is on like Donkey Kong!

Leith van Onselen

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