No Signs of a Letup in Housing Strength

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

The great housing boom continues – prices surged in May and building approvals for owner-occupied again rose in April, although there was a sharp drop in approvals for units and apartments.

Overall there was an 8.6% fall in building approvals thanks to a 28.6% fall in units and townhouses approvals. April’s fall was after an 18.9% rise in March thanks to the impending end of the HomeBuilder subsidies.

However, private house approvals continued to grow in April – up 4.6% – resulting in strong annual growth of 67.4%.

”Since the introduction of HomeBuilder in June 2020, private house approvals have risen 84 per cent, with South Australia hitting a new record high in April, and New South Wales reaching the highest level since December 1988,” the ABS pointed out.

The ABS said the end of the HomeBuilder grant scheme on April 14 “did not have a material impact on the April building approvals data, as the building approval process typically occurs after the submission of the HomeBuilder application.”

“Total dwelling approvals rose in New South Wales (12.3 per cent), Western Australia (5.5 per cent) and South Australia (3.4 per cent), in seasonally adjusted terms. Total dwelling approvals fell in Victoria (-23.5 per cent), Queensland (-14.3 per cent) and Tasmania (-2.5 per cent),” according to the Bureau.

The ABS data followed the monthly CoreLogic report on house prices which showed a 2.2% rise in May after a slowing in the rate of growth in April.

Prices jumped in all capital cities and the regions last month.

Sydney house prices were up another 3.5% last month to be 11% up over past three months. That saw Sydney’s median house price rise 15.1% year to date.

Unit values in Sydney lifted by 1.8% in May to be 5.3% up over the past quarter and by 6.5% since the start of the year.

Melbourne saw a 2.2% rise in May and 6.3% over the last three months. Unit values in Melbourne rose 0.8% to be 4.9% up over the past year.

Values in Hobart increased by 2.2% in May, by 2.1% in Adelaide, by 1.1% in Perth, by 2.7% in Hobart, by 1.5% in Darwin and by 2.1% in Canberra.

CoreLogic said that Hobart, Darwin and Canberra house values are all up by more than 11% this year alone.

Darwin prices are up 21.1% in the year to May and Canberra’s are up 17.7%.

CoreLogic’s research director Tim Lawless put the gains down to

“The combination of improving economic conditions and low interest rates is continuing to support consumer confidence which, in turn, has created persistently strong demand for housing,” he said.

“At the same time, advertised supply remains well above average. This imbalance between demand and supply is continuing to create urgency amongst buyers, contributing to the upward pressure on housing prices.”

House prices across regional NSW, Victoria and regional Queensland and Tasmania – the rises were between 1.7% and 2.2%.


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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