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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Latest data points to continuing weakness in new house approvals

Media release

Latest data points to continuing weakness in new house approvals

Media release
“Approvals for detached houses increased by 10.5 per cent in February 2024, offsetting the decline in January,” stated HIA Senior Economist Tom Devitt.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released its monthly building approvals data for February 2024 for detached houses and multi-units covering all states and territories.

“The last three months of detached house approvals remain down by 3.3 per cent on the same quarter a year earlier, and 37.9 per cent down from the peak three years ago,” added Mr Devitt.

“The bounce back in detached house approvals from January disguises the continuing weakness in Australia’s housing market.

“Recent leading indicators, such as new home sales, are still struggling to indicate any significant recovery in new home building. This is especially so in NSW and Victoria, where land costs are particularly burdensome for new home buyers.

“Demand for new housing has been falling since the RBA started increasing interest rates in May 2022.

“Multi-unit approvals also remain weak, down by 20.9 per cent in February to record its weakest month in over a decade. This leaves multi-unit approvals 20.4 per cent down on the same quarter last year and less than half the peak of the apartment boom almost a decade ago.

“Higher density housing development is being constrained by labour, material and finance costs and uncertainties, as well as cumbersome planning rules and punitive taxes, especially on foreign investors.

“This lack of new work entering the construction pipeline is occurring alongside record inflows of overseas migrants and a pre-existing acute shortage of rental accommodation across the country.

“It is possible to build the Australian Government’s target of 1.2 million homes over the next five years, but it would require significant policy reforms which include lowering taxes on home building, easing pressures on construction costs, and decreasing land costs,” concluded Mr Devitt.
In seasonally adjusted terms, dwelling approvals in the three months to February increased only in Western Australia, up by 36.6 per cent compared to the previous year. Other jurisdictions saw declines in approvals, led by Victoria (-14.7 per cent), followed by Tasmania (-14.3 per cent), New South Wales (-13.4 per cent), Queensland (-11.7 per cent) and South Australia (-10.6 per cent). In original terms, dwelling approvals declined in the Northern Territory (-45.0 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (-32.3 per cent).

Monthly Building Approvals - Australia

Source: ABS

For more information please contact:

Thomas Devitt

HIA Senior Economist

Tim Reardon

HIA Chief Economist
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