HomeBuilder underpin surge in building approvals

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DETACHED home approvals have surged by almost 70% since the federal government’s HomeBuilder grant was introduced in June, and the scheme combined with low interest rates and housing market momentum to push approvals to their highest level in February.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a 21.6% increase in overall approvals February, to 19,422.

That followed a 19.4% fall in January after a rush in December to secure the full benefits of its HomeBuilder package’s first iteration. The $25,000 grant was available until the close of the year for homeowners to build or renovate new homes that would be worth less than $750,000, including the land.

The second phase, which offered grants of $15,000, ended yesterday.

The 15.1% increase in detached house approvals to 13,939 exceeded the record high set in December, ABS director of construction statistics, Bill Becker said.

“Since the introduction of the Homebuilder grant in June 2020, private house approvals have risen by almost 70%.”

Approvals in the segment are 57.5% higher year-on-year, and for total dwellings now 20.1% higher.

Home sales in February reached higher levels than the year before, preceding the pandemic.

Approvals for townhouses and apartments rose by 45.3% during February after recording a nine-year low in January. They are lower by 28.7% in annual terms.

Dwelling approvals rose in Queensland (40.5%), Tasmania (31.6%), Victoria (21.7%), Western Australia (19.1%) and New South Wales (16.1%), while South Australia saw a 3.4% fall.

Approvals for private sector houses rose across all mainland states, led by Queensland (25.4%), Western Australia (16.7%), and New South Wales (14.5%).

The value of total building approved increased 23.3%. The value of total residential building rose 21.0%, comprising a 22.8% rise in new residential building, and a 11.1% increase in alterations and additions.

The value of non-residential building also increased, by 27.5%.

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