Australia’s dwelling approvals crash deepens

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released dwelling approvals data for the month of October. At the national level, the number of dwelling approvals tanked by a seasonally adjusted 8.1% to 13,049. The overall fall in approvals was broad-based, with both units & apartments (-11.3%) and houses (-7.0%) diving.

In the year to October 2019, dwelling approvals crashed by a seasonally-adjusted 23.6%, with house approvals down 19.4% and unit approvals tanking by 30.8%:

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 35% in trend terms.

Approvals have also fallen fast in rolling annual terms:

There were 173,138 approvals in the year to October 2019 – way below the peak of 242,207 approvals in the year to August 2016 – with most of this growth in approvals coming from units and apartments, which are still running above the 30-year average, whereas house approvals are now running below 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:

The dwelling construction bust is building steam.

Leith van Onselen

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