Home Building Boom Bounces Back

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

Building approvals for privately-owned houses hit record highs for the second time in three months in February, while approvals of townhouses and units bounced by nearly 50% from January’s nine-year low.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data on Wednesday revealed a surprise surge in both private and non-private dwelling approvals, thanks in part to the federal government’s first home buyers’ assistance package and a separate one for trades people that has sparked a surge in renovations.

The ABS said that total dwellings approval in Australia rose 21.6% in February, with private sector house approvals rising by 15.1%, reaching a new record high of 13,939 houses.

Total approvals rose to 19,422, still well short of the all-time high of 23,368 in November, 2017. The most recent peak was in December, 2020 with a total of 19,801 approvals reported.

February’s surge followed January’s 19.4% slump which shocked on the downside.

Approvals for private sector dwellings excluding houses surged 43.5% in February, but that was still 28.7% lower than February 2020.

The value of total building approved jumped 23.3%, seasonally adjusted.

The ABS said the value of total residential building rose 21%, comprising a 22.8% rise in new residential building, and a 11.1% increase in alterations and additions to a new record high of $973 million. (The previous high was $976 million in January 2020).

In fact the value of renovations in the past three months has nudged $3 billion!

The value of non-residential building rose 27.5% in February but the boom there remains very much a yesterday story.

Bill Becker, ABS Director of Construction Statistics said private house approvals have risen by almost 70% since the introduction of HomeBuilder in June last year.

Approvals for private sector houses rose across all mainland states in February; Queensland (25.4%), WA (16.7%), NSW (14.5%), Victoria (11.1%) and South Australia (4.0%).

Total dwelling approvals rose in Queensland (40.5%), Tasmania (31.6%), Victoria (21.7%), WA (19.1%) and NSW (16.1%). Dwelling approvals fell 3.4% in South Australia.

Lending finance data is out later today and should show big rises in home loans to owner occupiers and investors with the RBA credit data for February yesterday showing a rapid rise in finance for housing investors.


Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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