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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

The pipeline of new home building continues to fall

Media release

The pipeline of new home building continues to fall

Media release
“The number of new homes commencing construction is set to continue to decline, with record low levels of lending for new home building projects so far this year,” stated HIA Chief Economist, Tim Reardon.

The ABS released the Lending to Households and Businesses data for May 2023 today, as well as the same month’s building approvals data for detached houses and multi-units covering all states and territories.

“The number of loans issued for the purchase or construction of a new home increased by 1.9 per cent in May, which still leaves the last three months 31.1 per cent below the same quarter a year ago,” added Mr Reardon.

“There were only two other occasions in the last 20 years when these numbers were so low – the introduction of the GST and for a brief period during the outbreak of the GFC.

“Lending for the purchase of residential land remains 20.2 per cent lower than at the same time the previous year.  

“With the full impact of the rise in the cash rate still to flow through to these official figures, they are likely to remain supressed for an extended period of time.

“The RBA’s cash rate increases over the last year have seen owner occupiers and investors, alike, retreat from the market. Earlier projects are also being cancelled as banks withhold finance in the wake of interest rate and construction cost increases.

“This lack of new work entering the pipeline means the number of projects that builders have sold but not yet commenced, is shrinking rapidly, and far fewer new homes will be commencing construction by the end of the year.

“The 18-month lag between the RBA’s first cash rate increase and its impact on the ground, is down to its final six months. Every additional interest rate increase weighs further on activity in 2024.

“These trends are also evident in the latest building approvals data, also released today.

“Approvals of new detached houses were also flat in May (+0.3 per cent), leaving approvals 15.7 per cent lower than at the same time the previous year.

“Building approvals are expected to continue to slow until early 2024 given the low volume of sales and lending for new homes recorded this year. 

“Approvals for multi-units rose in May by 59.3 per cent but this was driven almost entirely by New South Wales bouncing back from some exceptionally weak months. Nationally, approvals of multi-units still remain 9.9 per cent lower than at the same time the previous year. This leaves multi-unit approvals around decade lows as costs and supply uncertainties result in projects being delayed or cancelled.

“These shrinking pipelines are occurring at the same time that demand for housing is surging on the back of record high population growth and record low unemployment.

“A sharp recovery in the multi-units sector is especially important to addressing the worsening shortage of housing across Australia,” concluded Mr Reardon.

In original terms, the total number of loans for the purchase of construction of new homes in the three months to May 2023 declined in almost all jurisdictions compared to the same quarter a year earlier, led by the Australian Capital Territory (-57.6 per cent), and followed by Tasmania (-37.9 per cent), New South Wales (-33.1 per cent), South Australia (-31.6 per cent), Western Australia (-30.0 per cent), Victoria (-28.4 per cent), and Queensland (-24.9 per cent). The Northern Territory saw the only increase, up by 3.4 per cent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the total number of building approvals in the three months to May 2023 compared to the same quarter a year earlier, also declined in almost all jurisdictions, led by Western Australia (-25.9 per cent), and followed by Victoria (-25.8 per cent), Queensland (-18.7 per cent), South Australia (-11.0 per cent) and Tasmania (-8.6 per cent). New South Wales saw the only increase, up by 15.8 per cent on the back of a spike in multi-unit approvals in May. In original terms, declines were also seen in the Australian Capital Territory (-60.4 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-24.1 per cent).

Lending for purchase and construction of a new home

Source: ABS

For more information please contact:

Tim Reardon

Chief Economist

Thomas Devitt

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