High-rise construction collapses across Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week released its dwelling approvals data for February, which recorded a modest trend rebound in apartment approvals:

However, apartment approvals remained 41% below their June 2016 peak.

Today, I want to focus on the high-rise apartment segment, which has driving the apartment bust.

The next chart shows the picture at the national level in annual terms, which shows that high-rise apartment approvals have crashed by 50% since peaking in October 2015:

As shown above, there were 38,768 high-rise apartments approved across the nation in the year to January 2020, well down from the peak of 78,089 in the year to October 2015.

Detached house and townhouse approvals are also falling swiftly; albeit at a slower rate, as have town houses.

Below are the same charts at the state and territory level:

The high-rise apartment approvals crash has been driven by NSW (-58%), VIC (-48%) and QLD (-70%), which have all fallen massively from peak. ACT’s high-rise approvals have also crashed (-34%).

The below chart shows the high-rise bust across the major markets:

The high-rise apartment bust was already vicious. Now the coronavirus outbreak is likely to send apartment construction tumbling further as workers are stood down and domestic and foreign buyer demand collapses.

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