BUILDING approval numbers surged to a near record-high in March as Australians rushed to take advantage of HomeBuilder before the scheme’s expiry, while a new benchmark was set for the value of approvals.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed the number of dwellings approved rose 17.4% in March, following February’s 20.1% rise.
Daniel Rossi, director of construction statistics at the ABS, said the total number of dwellings approved in March, 23,176, was the second highest recorded, only exceeded by the November 2017 result of 23,357.
Apartments and townhouses drove the increase, rising 63.6% to 14,117, while detached home approvals lifted 0.1% to a new record high of 8,563.
AMP Capital chief economist, Shane Oliver said the rush to meet the deadline for the HomeBuilder subsidy at the end of March has likely brought residential approvals for new buildings and additions forward which will likely result in some softness in the months ahead.
“However, the surge in approvals points to a significant rise in dwelling construction activity over the remainder of this year.
“This is good news for the economy and jobs and against the back drop of the collapse in population growth holds out the prospect that the property market will move into a situation of underlying oversupply in the next year or so which should slow the gains in home prices and help improve affordability.”
Annual figures show total approvals are 47.4% higher than the same time last year, with detached houses up 60.9% and apartments and townhouses by 27.4%.
Total dwelling approvals rose in monthly terms during March in New South Wales (26.9%), Victoria (24.7%), Queensland (12.1%) and South Australia (3.5%), in seasonally adjusted terms, while they fell in Western Australia (by 6.4%) and in Tasmania (by 4.8%).
Victoria led approvals for private sector houses (7.8%) and South Australia (3.6%). Falls were recorded in New South Wales (of 10.5), Queensland (4.0%) and Western Australia (0.1%).
The value of total building approved increased 36.3% to $15.56 billion. Total residential building value rose 22.9%, driven by a 25.4% rise in new residential building to $7.83 billion, while residential alterations and additions rose 7.3% to an all-time high $1.07 billion.
The value of non-residential building reached an all-time high $6.66 billion, up 59.4%, driven by a large rise in both private and public projects in March.