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Housing outlook

Reliable data to make informed commercial decisions for your business.

Housing outlook

Reliable data to make informed commercial decisions for your business.

Housing predictions and forecast

Based on extensive industry data

HIA is Australia’s leading forecaster of housing construction activity. Our forecasting methodology is a robust mix of the macroeconomic fundamentals driving supply and demand with real-world data. This data is collected from our membership base of over 30,000 industry professionals who are responsible for over 80% of Australia’s residential construction work.

Key inputs to HIA’s forecasting process

  • Economic growth 
  • Interest rates
  • Employment growth
  • Consumer confidence
  • Level of oversupply or pent-up demand
  • Interstate and overseas population movements
  • Household formation
  • Land availability
  • Taxation and regulation
  • Credit availability

Dwelling composition forecasts

In recognising the changing new dwelling mix evident for Australia’s housing industry, a full suite of housing starts history and forecasts by distinct dwelling types is available to assist businesses to plan for the future. These dwelling types are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ ‘functional classification of buildings’:-

These classifications encompass:

  • detached houses
  • semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse or duplex with one storey
  • semi-detached, row or terrace house, townhouse or duplex with two or more storeys
  • flat, unit or apartment in a building of one or two storeys
  • flat, unit or apartment in a building of three storeys
  • flat, unit or apartment in a building of four or more storeys
  • dwellings excluding new residential (typically called conversions).

The forecasts are available annually on a subscription basis which includes:

  • four quarterly updates of all forecasts by new dwelling type in excel format
  • a national dwelling composition forecast report with the first set of forecasts
  • long term forecasts of housing starts – total, detached houses, and total ‘multi-units’, national, state and territory – in excel format
  • long range housing projections report.


Download latest forecast summary


Regional new home building projections

HIA’s Regional New Home Building Commencements Projections are prepared quarterly and show the expected level of new home commencements in all regional markets across Australia. The report covers hundreds of regions around Australia as well as providing distinct forecasts for detached and attached building markets. This forecasting service provides a very useful guide for anybody involved in Australia’s residential construction industry that needs to know what is happening in specific geographic areas of a state or territory.

The projections are particularly useful for any business operating in geographic markets where local conditions tend to differ from the more generalised state level conditions. The projections give an indication of the size of local markets, provide a point of reference for businesses estimating market share, enable benchmarking of business performance, and provide an excellent basis for businesses planning for the future. The projections are provided with a five year outlook and include historical data dating back ten years.

Geographic coverage

A detailed outline of the derivation of HIA’s regional forecasts is provided below.

The projections use the geographic areas defined by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). This is the system used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics when reporting regional data.

The ASGS is a tiered classification where each state is divided up into a number of ‘statistical areas’. Within each state, it is first divided into a ‘Greater Capital City Statistical Area’, and the ‘rest of state’. The largest statistical areas within the ASGS are termed ‘Level 4 Statistical Areas’ (SA4), and each SA4 is divided up into a number of ‘Level 3 Statistical Areas’ (SA3).


Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA)

  • Level 4 Statistical Areas (SA4) within GCCSAs (representative of an area with 300,000 to 500,000 people)
  • Level 3 Statistical Areas (SA3) within SA4s (representative of an area with 30,000 to 130,000 people)

Rest of State

  • Level 4 Statistical Areas (SA4) outside a state’s GCCSA (representative of an area with 100,000 to 300,000 people)
  • Level 3 Statistical Areas (SA3) within SA4s (representative of an area with 30,000 to 130,000 people)

Regional projections go down to the SA3 level and are provided with a five year projection horizon presented in annualised terms (both calendar year and fiscal year). There are numerous instances where the ASGS statistical areas do not align exactly with local government or council boundaries. However the ASGS statistical areas still enable an accurate representation of building activity for any regional area around the country.

* Note that there is no official record of dwelling commencements below the regional level reported. The historical commencements data series is a modelled series derived from known residential building approvals and historic relationships between approvals and commencements.

Housing forecast process

HIA Economics is a team dedicated to expanding the understanding of residential building and the industry’s role in the economy, and has developed a strong track record of forecasting building activity. While HIA’s housing forecasts are reviewed and published at four discrete points each year, the research which underpins the forecasts is an ongoing process.

The research can be grouped into five broad categories: tracking construction activity; assessing broader economic conditions; liaising with industry participants; modelling demographic developments in the context of housing demand; and assessing supply side factors. These areas of research are discussed in more detail under the sub-headings below.

After reviewing contemporary developments and relationships between determinants of building activity across each of the five research areas, the economics team assess whether any variation to the forecasts are required. Any changes considered necessary are then quantified and reflected in the next published edition of the forecasts.

Tracking construction activity
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HIA Economics has an ongoing and systematic process for monitoring a wide range of data sets from both official and private data sources relevant to the housing and construction sectors. In addition, HIA Economics also has a primary data collection program and also maintains a number of proprietary data sets tracking specific parts of construction industry activity.

Liaison with industry
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The depth of our team's consultation with industry participants is a unique element of our forecasting process. HIA has a strong national presence with a network of state offices in every capital city and a number of offices located in major regional centres around the country. Our organisational structure enables direct lines of communication with a wide range of industry participants around the country, both internally and externally. This provides invaluable insights, beyond what can be gleaned from quantitative analysis.

Assessing broader economic conditions
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Conditions within the construction industry are influenced, both positively and negatively, by a wide range of factors external to the industry. The performance of Australia’s economy is evaluated relative to the nation’s key trading partners, with regard to the sectoral and geographic drivers of growth. In forming an opinion on the likely trajectory of economic activity, a wide range of factors are considered, inter alia, household consumption, public and private capital investment, the credit environment, interest rates, inflation, labour market conditions, and changes in government policy settings.

Demography and demand for housing
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Analysis of Australia’s demography and its implications for housing demand is an important area of research. The modelling of future housing demand considers natural population growth, interstate migration and overseas migration, and the propensity of the population to form various types of households, in addition to occupying various types of dwelling. HIA’s unique research - Housing Australia’s Future - provides the only scenario analysis available in Australia that considers Australia’s future new housing requirements.

Supply side factors
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The ability of industry to access the requisite inputs for construction is an influential factor in determining the quantity of new homes that can be built. Shortfalls in non-tradable inputs (i.e. those that cannot readily be imported to supplement a domestic shortfall in supply) such as the quantity of land available for residential development and the supply of skilled labour represent potential constraints on the quantity of housing that can be built.

The HIA closely monitors state planning policies and the extent to which these are implemented. Planning policies have a pivotal role in the supply of available land and also have an influential role in determining the types of dwellings that are supplied to the market. In a similar regard, the HIA monitors the immediate balance of supply and demand for skilled construction labour, and also considers the long term implications of construction workforce demography, state and federal training policies, and skilled migration.

State and National Outlook Report


Every quarter our economics team produce an overview of Australia's housing and renovation industry, including the latest housing forecasts. This outlook report is an invaluable tool for business planning and providing information on:

  • quarterly trends and future key industry issues
  • how much home lending and building approval work is occurring.

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