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21-year high for house approvals

11 January 2021 Bianca Dabu
house approvals

Private sector house approvals rose for the fifth consecutive month in November 2020, marking the the highest recorded level since December 1999, according to new data.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) stated that approvals for private houses have surged 40 per cent since June.

Demand for detached dwellings has been largely driven by federal and state housing stimulus and low interest rates, Daniel Rossi, director of construction statistics at the ABS, explained.

It’s a sentiment that the Housing Industry Association’s economist, Angela Lillicrap, supports: “While HomeBuilder was the catalyst for improving consumer confidence in the housing market, the strength of detached building approvals is due to several factors including low interest rates.”


The ABS noted detached house approvals increased by 24.8 per cent in just three months to November 2020, compared to the preceding three months.

The HIA said this put approval rates 31.4 per cent higher than the same time in 2019.

In November alone, ABS data indicated that approvals for private houses rose by 6.1 per cent.

State by state, the results for houses were also positive: approvals for private sector houses rose in all states in November, with Queensland leading the charge at 17.0 per cent, followed by Western Australia (7.5 per cent), South Australia (2.8 per cent), Victoria (1.5 per cent) and New South Wales (0.7 of a percentage point).

The value of total building approved fell by 8.4 per cent in November, in seasonally adjusted terms. ABS found that the value of non-residential building drove the decrease, falling by 27.4 per cent after a strong October result (the highest since August 2019).

Looking ahead, Ms Lillicrap said the data would suggest that detached house building approvals will continue to be strong over the coming months.

She added that while the extension of HomeBuilder at the end of November is not a factor in this month’s result, we “will see the strength in detached house approvals extend into 2021”.

Elsewhere, the total number of dwellings approved also rose in November, up by 2.6 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.

South Australia emerged with the highest rise in total dwellings with 18.8 per cent, followed by Queensland with 6.5 per cent and New South Wales with 1.5 per cent.

On the other hand, total dwellings declined in Western Australia (5.4 per cent), Victoria (4.6 per cent) and Tasmania (0.4 of a percentage point).

The value of total residential building increased by 5.7 per cent, comprising a 5.7 per cent rise in new residential building and a 5.6 per cent increase in alterations and additions.

According to ABS data, the value of residential alterations and additions reached an all-time high in November.

21-year high for house approvals
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