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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Timber imports responding to record housing demand

Media release

Timber imports responding to record housing demand

Media release
Shortages of timber have caused extended delays to house building over the last year and a half.

“International trade data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that global supply chains are gradually meeting the demands of the pandemic,” added Mr Devitt.

“In the final quarter of 2021, the value of select wood imports reached their highest level on record, as part of the continuing trend from mid-2020.

“Timber is predominantly produced domestically but excess demand, such as in a boom year like 2022, is largely sourced from overseas markets.

“Supply chain developments like this will help ease pressures in home building and the broader economy.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today also released its monthly building approvals data for detached and multi-units covering all states and territories.

“Multi-unit approvals were up by 17.9 per cent in 2021, recording almost 78,000 approvals for the year.

“This is an encouraging sign that apartment construction will return prior to the return of overseas migration.

“Building approvals for detached housing also remained elevated at the end of 2021 to produce the strongest year on record. 

“There were over 150,000 approvals for detached homes 2021, 26.0 per cent up on the previous year and 11.0 higher than the previous calendar year record set in 1988.

“Detached approvals were up for the year in all jurisdictions.

“This is consistent with the strength seen in other indicators, including housing finance and HIA’s own new home sales survey.

“The value of renovations approved also remains elevated. The last 12 months has seen $12.4 billion worth of renovations approved, an increase of 33.3 per cent on the previous year. 

“This boom is set to keep builders busy this year and into 2023. The main constraint facing builders this year will continue to be the price and availability of land, labour and materials.

“Properly functioning supply chains will go a long way towards helping to ease these pressures,” concluded Mr Devitt.

In seasonally adjusted terms, total residential building approvals increased in 2021 compared to the previous year in New South Wales (+32.1 per cent) and Victoria (+2.5 per cent), while declining in Queensland (-14.8 per cent), Western Australia (-7.7 per cent), Tasmania (-7.4 per cent) and South Australia (-0.3 per cent). In original terms, building approvals increased in the Australian Capital Territory (+136.5 per cent) and decreased in the Northern Territory (-31.7 per cent).

Selected imports of wood, quarterly - Source: ABS

For more information:

Thomas Devitt


Tim Reardon

Chief Economist
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